Extraction Post Op

When a tooth is removed, or “pulled”, because of decay or other reasons, it is called an “extraction”. It is natural to feel some discomfort after the procedure, but if you follow certain guidelines not only will your extraction site heal faster but it will also prevent any unwanted complications from arising.

1. Anesthesia

A local anesthetic agent numbs the site of extraction so that you do not feel any pain during the procedure. This numbness can last for a few hours after the procedure is over. During that time it is important to avoid chewing your lips or cheeks because you will not realize the amount of damage you are inflicting on yourself because of the numbness in the area. Avoid eating any food during this time, and if the numbness persists beyond a few hours, contact your dentist immediately.

2. Post-operative Bleeding

  • The extraction socket tends to bleed for a while after the procedure. Your dentist will place a gauze pack over the area and ask you to bite on it to apply pressure to the site. This not only reduces the bleeding but also helps in formation of a blood clot. Leave the gauze piece in place for the next 30 to 45 minutes.

  • If mild bleeding persists even after this, fold a fresh piece of gauze, dampen it in water and place it over the site. Bite down on this pad for the next 30 minutes. If it gets soaked through with blood, change it with a fresh piece.

  • Do not suck on the extraction socket or disturb it with your tongue. This will dislodge the blood clot and cause bleeding.

3. Protecting the Blood Clot

Do the following to protect the blood clot formed in the extraction socket:-

  • Do not smoke

  • Don’t rinse your mouth vigorously

  • Don’t spit or create suction in your mouth

  • Avoid alcoholic mouthwashes or beverages for the next 24 hours

  • Avoid strenuous activities

  • Sometimes the blood clot can disintegrate in the socket leading to extreme pain and bone exposure. This condition is called dry socket and must be reported to the dentist immediately.

4. Prescription Medicines

Medicines are prescribed after every extraction to reduce pain and inflammation. Take them only as directed. If they are not effective, do not take more than prescribed. Contact your dentist for further instructions.

5. Maintain Oral Hygiene

  • Do not brush the teeth immediately adjacent to the extraction socket the entire day. Brush the rest of your mouth and floss. You can brush these teeth the next day.

  • Mix half a teaspoon of salt in 8 oz. water and warm the solution slightly before using it for mildly rinsing your mouth after every meal from the next day. This will keep food debris out of the extraction socket. But do not rinse vigorously.

  • If you have hypertension, consult with your dentist regarding the use of saline rinses.

  • Do not use mouthwashes in the initial days after extraction.

6. Swelling

Some amount of swelling is normal at the extraction site. Apply an ice pack or a cold towel to the area over your face (not directly on the extraction site).

When to contact the dentist or visit the emergency room?

If the following symptoms arise, contact your dentist immediately, and if unavailable, go to an emergency room:-

  • Fever

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Heavy bleeding

  • Severe pain

  • Large swelling

  • Pain that worsens with time

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