Have you ever got your tooth extracted and wondered how to best take care of it?
Although Tooth extraction is a relatively common dental procedure and many of us have had it at some point in our lives, we often find ourselves clueless about how to follow proper aftercare. For example, did you know smoking can cause complications if you have had your tooth extracted?
Skimping on proper care after the removal of a tooth can leave you in sticky situations, such as a delay in the healing process and other problems.
Don’t’ stress though! We are here to guide you on the correct measures to take, so you can quickly bounce back to your normal routine.
Reasons you may need a tooth extraction
An infected, damaged, or broken tooth may require extraction. If you’re lucky and the injury is not too grave, teeth can be repaired with a filling, root canal , crown , or other dental treatment. However, if the damage is too severe to repair, your dentistmay be forced to extract your tooth in order to maintain your health and wellbeing.
Here are some common reasons for tooth extraction:
- Tooth infection or decay that is deep-rooted
- Trauma or injury to teeth causing irreparable damage
- Not enough room for all the teeth in your mouth
- Gum disease
- Milk teeth that don’t fall out in time for the permanent to replace it
- An orthodontic treatment, such as placement of braces, might require tooth extraction
- Impacted wisdom teeth are often extracted either before or after they erupt
What you should and shouldn’t do after having a tooth removed
Take pain medications: Since you are likely to feel discomfort and pain once the anaesthesia wears off, your dentist may prescribe pain medications. Do not skip a dose if you want to avoid the pain.
The pain medication may also have an anti-inflammatory effect, thus reducing the inflammation around the extraction site.
Take some time off after the procedure: One of the bonuses of getting your tooth taken out is that you get to rest and take it easy. Taking a day off from work and other tasks may be necessary depending on the surgery, however, most patients can go back to their normal routine within hours.
Be mindful of what you eat: Like with other injuries, when your tooth gets extracted, a small amount of bleeding is expected until a blood clot forms. During this time, your dentist may advise you to eat soft foods. Basically, this is your free pass to indulge a bit, with doctors recommending cold foods such as ice creams, smoothies, and yoghurt!
Although a no-brainer, one should also try to eat on the other side of their mouth (if possible), as you don’t want to agitate the extraction site.
Use ice packs: Applying an ice pack on the side of your face where the extraction was performed will help a great deal, as it can reduce swelling. Swelling may not appear right away but can continue for a few days.
Let it clot: This is one very crucial guideline to follow. Allow the clot to be formed on the tooth extraction site, which covers it and allows it to heal. Post an extraction, your dentist will give you a piece of gauze to bite on near the extraction site. Try to bite down and keep it in place for at least an hour afterwards. This will put pressure over the wound and help it to stop bleeding.
Don’t consume hot foods or liquids: Hot foods could dislodge the healing tissue over the extraction sockets and lead to excessive bleeding, and this is something you wouldn’t want to deal with. If you have had anaesthesia administered, you also risk burning your lip or tongue without realising it. Therefore, it is prudent to avoid hot food and beverages for at least 48 hours after the procedure.
Do not brush, floss, or use mouthwash: Although it might seem counterintuitive since you need a clean mouth to prevent infection, you should not brush, floss, or gargle with a mouthwash until your doctor advises you to do so. You are in danger of dislodging the blood clot with your toothbrush and other objects. The blood clot is vital as it will help your wound heal faster.
Don’t use a straw: This one may seem odd, but the straw can create a big problem for you. The vacuum the straw creates when you suck water to drink may dislodge the blood clot.
Don’t smoke: Smoking is not only detrimental to your overall health, but also after tooth extraction, it can lead to hypoxia, a condition wherein the nicotine in cigarettes will restrict the blood vessels, with your tissues not receiving enough oxygen to heal properly.
This can lead to infection in the gums and bones. Like the straw, the vacuum it creates when you suck smoke out of your cigarette can dislodge the blood clot too.
Don’t exercise: If you are a fitness buff who swears by your daily iron-pumping session, read on! Exercising should be avoided for at least 48 hours. High levels of activity increase your blood pressure, affecting the clot and leading to excessive bleeding from the extraction site.
Once excessive bleeding starts, it can be difficult to stop it. Besides exercising, other activities to stay away from include dancing, high levels of physical work, etc.
Don’t poke the gap: We have all been there as kids! Poking the area left devoid of a baby tooth with our finger or tongue. However, when it comes to an extracted tooth, it’s not the same.
Although it might feel a bit awkward to have a gap but don’t poke that area with your finger, tongue, or other objects as it may delay healing and trigger bleeding.
If you have any doubts or questions regarding extractions, our fantastic team of dental experts at Micris Dental Clinic would be happy to help you. Contact us today to book your appointment and we will be happy to help you with all your dental needs.