Once your teeth have been extracted, it is necessary to follow some postoperative care instructions. Laxity in this area can lead to improper healing at the site of the extracted tooth. Removing a tooth is often the easy part. The hard part starts after the tooth has been removed. Here are some helpful tips to adhere to after a tooth extraction. Following these tips will help your tooth extraction site to heal faster.
Tips to Care for Teeth Extractions
Ways to Stop the Bleeding
Superficial bleeding occurs at the extraction site of the tooth. The doctor will place a cotton gauze at the site of the tooth extraction. You will be asked to gently bite down on the gauze pad. This is necessary to stop the bleeding. You can bite down for about half an hour. Some blood will continue to ooze for a few hours after the surgery and this is quite normal.
Do not touch the site with your tongue. Avoid sipping on hot fluids as they can increase bleeding. Do not suck fluids with a straw as this can cause the blood to be sucked out in the process thus enhancing bleeding. It also delays healing. If bleeding persists for a very long time, place a cold tea bag on the extraction site and bite down gently on the cold tea bag.
Keep Your Head Elevated
Another way of preventing bleeding is to keep the head elevated. Do so with several pillows resting under your head. This will help to ease the bleeding and reduce discomfort.
No Beverages and Alcohol
Do not sip on hot beverages like tea and coffee for at least 24 hours. You should also avoid alcohol at all costs.
Smoking is the worst possible thing for a newly extracted tooth. It delays healing considerably and the nicotine, tar and smoke can cause infection at the extraction site, which will only serve to compound your problems.
Rinsing and Brushing
Rinsing and brushing have to be done properly after a tooth extraction. You cannot rinse your mouth at all for the first 12 hours after the surgery. Do not brush your teeth at all, as this could irritate the site of the extraction. When you do start brushing your teeth, make sure that you use a soft bristled toothbrush, which will be easy on the teeth.
Start by rinsing and washing your mouth with warm saline gargles. The salt in the water helps to fight off infection and reduce pain and swelling if any. Gargle at least 3-4 times a day.
A special mouthwash will be needed if you have had a tooth extraction. Gently swish the mouthwash in your mouth immediately after you brush your teeth. The mouthwash helps to ward off bacteria that could cause an infection.
At times, there is pain and swelling on the side where the tooth has been extracted. You can use a cold compress or an ice pack on that side of the face to ease pain and swelling.
It is important to get plenty of rest after the surgery. Make sure that you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night.
Avoid Physical Exercise
Do not exercise or engage in any form of physical exertion. This will cause more bleeding. In fact, it is important to not exercise at all for the first 24-48 hours
Foods to be Consumed After a Tooth Extraction
There are specific foods and drinks that you should be consuming after a tooth extraction.
Most dentists will recommend that you eat ice cream after a tooth extraction. The cold from the ice cream helps to numb and ease the pain. It also allows the blood to clot faster thus making it easier for the wound to heal.
Eat soft foods like dal and rice, which have a high protein content. This will give you nourishment without hurting your teeth. Do not eat hard or crunchy foods at all for the first 24-48 hours. These can hurt the site of the extracted tooth.
Drink Enough Water
Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Water will also promote faster healing and flush out toxins from your body.
Do not Eat Chewy and Sticky Foods
Do not eat foods that are very chewy, gummy or sticky. They can be difficult to chew and can get stuck to your teeth. This will make it difficult to remove the food particles especially since you cannot brush your teeth for the first 24 hours.
Resuming Normal Eating
You can eat a regular diet after the first 24 hours. Till then eat foods that are soft textured until you are absolutely sure that the site of the tooth extraction has completely healed.
Avoid Hot Food
Whatever food you choose to eat, wait until it cools down before you begin to eat it. Eating very hot food will increase the bleeding and delay healing.
Controlling the Pain
It is possible to control the pain after the surgery by taking painkillers. If you are pregnant, do tell your doctor as certain medicines will be banned in your case. The painkillers are effective especially if you have had more than one extraction.
Preventing a Dry Socket
A dry socket occurs when the blood clot formed in the extraction site falls off a few days after the surgery. This exposes the site of the extraction to cold, pollution and air. It can get infected and can lead to earache, pain and jaw discomfort. One way of preventing a dry socket is to apply ice packs on that side of the face. This helps to reduce swelling and discomfort. It also prevents the formation of a dry socket.
Call a Doctor
Call a doctor if you experience prolonged bleeding or if you begin to feel the first signs of infection. The doctor will then have to attend to your injury immediately. You can also call a doctor if your pain gets unbearable or if you develop fever. Be upfront and do not hesitate to ask questions.