Our teeth, like every part of our bodies, decay over time. Natural decay, disease, and trauma are all reasons why we may need a tooth extraction. A tooth extraction is a short surgery that pulls an affected tooth out of your mouth. You are put under anesthesia and shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure. After the extraction, you’ll need to take extreme care in the first 24 hours. Here are some guidelines on how to heal your mouth after a tooth extraction.
The First Two Hours
The first two hours are the most important. You’ll be given a gauze pack to stop the residual bleeding. This gauze should remain in place for at least 30-45 minutes directly after the procedure. If your mouth is still bleeding after removal, place a warm, damp gauze on the spot and apply pressure for 30 minutes. This should cause a blood clot to heal which stops the bleeding.
The First Twenty Four Hours
Because your mouth is still numb from the procedure, chewing food runs the risk of biting your cheek, lip or tongue. Don’t chew any food or drink through a straw in the first twenty-four hours. You should eat soft foods and drink lots of liquids. Don’t heavily rinse your mouth or brush the affected area, but do continue to carefully brush the rest of your teeth. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and exercise.
The Next Day
After twenty-four hours, you can begin to chew food on the opposite side of your mouth. You should also clean the area by gently rinsing your entire mouth with warm salt water. Pain and swelling are normal, so make sure to take any pills your dentist has prescribed, but use as directed. You can also ice the affected area to reduce discomfort and swelling.
When to Contact the Dentist
- If a blood clot breaks down or doesn’t form this creates a dry socket which can be very painful. This should be reported to the dentist immediately.
- You experience fever, nausea, vomiting, ongoing pain, swelling or bleeding. Go to the hospital emergency room if your dentist is unreachable.
- Your pain meds aren’t easing the pain. Do not take more pills than directed. Your dentist can advise you on next steps.