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Tooth extraction describes the painless removal of a tooth or dental root with minimal damage to the surrounding tissues, ensuring that the extraction socket incision heals without any difficulties after the procedure. Following a tooth extraction, you must take a few crucial steps to ensure a quick and painless recovery.

Most dental surgeons have standard post-operative instructions printed and given to the patient as part of the procedure. You must follow the dentist recommendations; following all post-operative recommendations lowers the risk of infection and dry socket. Failure to follow aftercare guidelines can result in problems, which can further delay healing.

The Aftercare Guidelines:

The Dos:

  • Rest: After the procedure, try to get some rest, and then go easy for a couple of days. Even though you might feel like you can carry on, as usual, it’s crucial to take it easy after having your tooth pulled. Keep your head on the pillow slightly upright while you are sleeping.
  • Allow the clot to form: It will cover the tooth extraction site and promote healing. Your dentist will offer you a piece of gauze to bite close to the extraction site after the procedure. For at least an hour later, make an effort to maintain your bite. By applying pressure to the wound, you may stop the bleeding. Make sure not to chew on the gauze piece, though. The longer you can keep it in place, the better, but depending on how much blood is occurring, change the gauze about every half hour. The nerve endings could become exposed if the clot becomes dislodged after it develops. Healing is delayed due to the nerves and capillaries contracting and spasming, which limits the flow of vital blood. Try applying a damp tea bag to the area if the bleeding continues for a few hours after the surgery. Black tea contains tannic acid, which aids in the coagulation process.
  • Eat on the opposite side – eat using the other side of your mouth: Even though it might seem obvious, it’s crucial to avoid disturbing the gum wound as it heals. Consume soft meals, things like yogurt, smoothies, and soup. Do this until you can consume solid meals without discomfort after the local anesthetic wears off.
  • Apply cold press: Applying a cold pack will help minimize any edema that may be present. Swelling might not start immediately after the extraction and can last for a few days. Place an ice pack on the affected side of your face. While swelling doesn’t usually occur in simple extractions, it can happen following surgery in situations requiring extensive cheek retractions. The inflammation that follows an extraction may not appear straightaway; instead, it may occur after several hours and present for a few days, peaking on the second or third day. The day of extraction is the best time to use the ice pack because there is no real benefit after 24 hours. Apply the Ice packs for one to two hours, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off.
  • Keep the wound clean: A great and secure technique to keep the area clean and stop infections is to gargle salt mouthwash. Do this as often as possible. However, if you gargle excessively or for an extended period, you risk disturbing the healing tissue.
  • Clean your teeth: It’s vital to brush your teeth as usual, but you should also try to carefully brush the teeth around the wound to prevent the growth of germs, which could lead to an infection.

The Don’ts:

  • Avoid exercising or strenuous activities for at least 48 hours: This is crucial because high activity can damage the clot and cause excessive bleeding from the extraction site because they elevate your blood pressure. It might be challenging to control heavy bleeding once it has started. Avoid anything that entails increasing your activity level, for example, strenuous physical labor, dancing, partying, etc.
  • Avoid eating solids right away: Don’t eat solids while still numb. You can begin consuming solids after you can feel your jaw. Yet, you can take soft and liquid foods, such as soups, milkshakes, yogurt, mashed potatoes, smoothies, etc.
  • Quit smoking for at least 48 hours after removing a tooth: Smoking can cause hypoxia, a condition in which your tissues don’t get enough oxygen to recover properly. It can result in infection of the bone and gums. Also, the chemicals in smoke can disrupt the clot increasing the likelihood of developing a dry socket three to four days after tooth extraction.
  • Warm saline rinses: Since it is impossible to brush the socket, rinsing aims to clean the extraction site. Add salt to the solution to make it isotonic and more like natural tissue fluid, which makes it less irritant than water. Warm saline rinses are helpful in cleaning and maintaining the hygiene of that area. Typically, rinsing is indicated for 12 hours after the operation.
  • Never use aspirin; instead, take ibuprofen. Aspiring slows down the production of blood clots, which prevents healing. Before taking any drugs, check with your dentist and follow their instructions.
  • Refrain from sucking: Avoid suckling, sipping, smoking, and eating tough vegetables. Try soft, liquid foods such as soups, milkshakes, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and smoothies. Steer clear of sodas, hot beverages, spicy foods, etc., for at least 48 hours. Hot foods can cause excessive bleeding by dislodging the healing tissue covering the extraction sockets.
  • Don’t poke the gap: Though for the initial few days, it will feel a bit awkward to have a gap, don’t poke that area with any toothpick or tongue as it may disrupt the clot formation and delay the healing process delay healing.
  • Avoid skipping medication – adhere to your dentist’s instructions: If your dentist prescribes antibiotics, you must take them regularly. You should take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications after the surgery. It aids in lowering swelling and soreness. You should contact your dentist if the discomfort persists or bleeding begins, even two days after the tooth extraction.