If you are scheduled to have a tooth extraction procedure, you may be feeling a little uneasy. Gaining a better understanding of what to expect following the procedure as well as the steps you can take to speed your recovery should help a nervous patient considerably. Your dentist will give you specific aftercare instructions before you leave your appointment. There are two things you and your dentist will aim to control once you get home, pain and bleeding. Here are some do’s and don’ts for the first 24 hours following your tooth extraction:
Do Take Your Pain Medication! Your dentist will decide on the best form of pain medicine and it is important that you take it before your numbness wears off. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are often all that is needed, but depending on the complexity of your procedure, your dentist may prescribe something stronger. It is very normal to experience mild pain and tenderness for the first few days; taking your pain medication as prescribed will help the pain and the associated swelling.
Do Bite Down on Gauze! There is a very specific and important reason your dentist will have you walking out of the dental office clenching a wad of gauze. Your tooth extraction site needs to form a blood clot in order to heal properly. Applying pressure will facilitate this clot formation and your dentist will likely ask you to keep biting down on gauze for at least 20-30 minutes following your procedure.
Do NOT Disturb the Blood Clot! It is critical that you not disturb the freshly formed blood clot in the first 24 hours. In order to facilitate healing and prevent bleeding, patients should avoid the following:
- Smoking and Alcohol
- Drinking through a straw
- Hot drinks
- Physical exertion
- Rinsing the mouth
After the first 24 hours, patients should closely follow their dentist’s instructions for proper cleaning and mouthwash use. The initial healing stage, which involves the closing of the socket, can take up to 2-3 weeks. However, you should never have worsening pain after the first day. Call your dentist promptly if you have unusual pain after the first 24 hours, as this may be an indication of ‘dry socket.’ Gilreath Family Dentistry is a leading dental provider and they offer sedation dentistry to keep patients as comfortable as possible during any dental procedure, including tooth extractions.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,