Caring for Your Mouth After Extraction
If teeth are diseased, damaged beyond repair or impacted, our Placerville dentists recommend their removal to save neighboring teeth and gum tissue. If you require tooth extraction, either for wisdom teeth removal or to repair decay or damage, how can you prevent complications like dry socket and manage pain?
How To Prevent Dry Socket
What is dry socket? When a tooth is removed, the body reacts by making a blood clot to protect the bone and nerves that are underneath the site of the extracted tooth. If the clot is disturbed, the nerves and bone are exposed, increasing the risk of infection and pain, usually one to three days after the extraction. To prevent dry socket follow these simple instructions:
Rest allows your body to heal and recover, especially after the anesthesia wears off. Taking the prescribed time to rest also means avoiding contact sports or any activities that might harm your mouth. Even regular daily activities require energy, so before you become too exhausted or experience breakthrough pain (caused from extraordinary exertion), put your feet up and relax! Take a pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be sure to contact us immediately if your pain worsens or if you experience fever, new swelling or redness.
Don’t Neglect Oral Hygiene
Maintain your daily oral care, but avoid brushing and flossing the extraction site for 24 hours, preserving the protective clot in the root socket. Gently brush and floss other teeth and use an antibacterial mouthwash to help prevent infection.
Avoid All Tobacco
Smoking in any form (including vaping) or chewing tobacco after oral surgery delays healing, extends pain and is a major cause of dry socket. Avoid all tobacco products for up to five days! This helps the body repair itself. Although it’s a difficult instruction for our patients who use tobacco, it avoids the problems that occur from infection. Consider using your extraction as an opportunity to try smoking cessation devices and stop smoking altogether. It’s much better for your oral health.
Stick to Water and Soft Foods
Most people don’t feel like eating after tooth extraction, but when you get your appetite back, eat soft foods and chew carefully. Stay hydrated with water and do not drink alcohol or sugary beverages. Avoid using a straw for a week or more, so that the clot isn’t sucked out of the socket while drinking your beverages.
After any oral surgery, our dental professionals provide detailed after care instructions to aid in healing, promote shorter recovery and lessen pain. We follow up to make sure your mouth is healing well and your recovery is going according to plan. Contact us today for an oral surgery consultation or check out our pages on oral surgery topics.