What to do after a tooth extraction?
There are lots of reasons why you may need to have a tooth removed including decay or infection, a crowded mouth, or gum disease. Both dentists and oral surgeons can perform the surgery using local or general anaesthetic depending on the operation needed. You’ll need to inform your dentist of your medical history and of any medications or supplements you take before the procedure goes ahead. Read all about what to do after tooth extraction below…
What to Expect
The actual tooth removal procedure is relevant to the reason for the extraction. If the tooth is impacted the gum and tissue will be cut and then the tooth gently rocked with forceps to loosen it. Sometimes the tooth may be removed in pieces. Afterwards, a blood clot will form in the socket, and a gauze pad will be used to help stop the bleeding as you bite down on it. You may need stitches to close the gum edges, but these will be self-dissolving.
After you’ve left the surgery you’ll need to take time to recover at home. You’ll probably have been given a list of post-surgery instructions which you need to follow to avoid infection and the possibility of a dry socket which would need to be treated with a sedative dressing to protect until a new blood clot forms. You should also:
Take any prescribed painkillers
- Bite gently on the gauze pad to reduce bleeding, changing the pad before they become soaked. You can leave them for three to four hours before changing is blood loss is minimal
- Apply an ice-pack to the side of your face where the surgery took place to reduce any swelling. This’ll be effective during the day if you use it for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off for one to two hours
- Rest and relax for at least 24 hours following the procedure, and take it easy for at least another couple of days
- After 24 hours rinse your mouth with a solution of salt and warm water
- Eat soft foods like soup and yoghurts until the wound has healed enough to cope with solids
- Prop your head up on your pillows to avoid lying flat which could prolong any bleeding
- Brush your teeth gently taking care not to touch the extraction site
- Don’t smoke, drink from a straw, or rinse or spit forcefully, or take Aspirin for the initial healing period of about two weeks.
Alternative Dental Treatment
A trusted dental surgeon will be able to offer cosmetic surgery for your teeth that’s completely non-invasive, and be able to deal with any dental health issues that misaligned or crowded teeth might be causing. You’ll be able to have a consultation to decide which are the best options for you.
A dental composite overlay is a filling material made from composite resin that’s used to overlay the tooth. It’s applied to the tooth and then moulded, bonded, and cured with a blue light from a light spectrum. The colour can be chosen to match the rest of your teeth, and it provides a watertight seal preventing the risk of bacteria causing an infection – ask your dentist for advice on replacing missing teeth with an implant, bridge, or denture.