Tooth extractions are necessary when the affected tooth cannot be saved or is causing damage to the surrounding structures. During a tooth extraction, the affected tooth is removed from the mouth. After a tooth extraction, there are certain post-op protocols you will need to follow.
Post-Op Protocols for a Tooth Extraction:
What should I expect after my tooth extraction?
After your tooth extraction, you will need to allow your body to form a protective blood clot over the socket. For 24 hours after your tooth extraction, you will need to avoid the following:
Vigorous physical activity
Drinking through a straw or sucking
Swishing liquids in your mouth
Smoking (should hold off for four days if possible)
Hot or spicy foods
Strong mouthwashes containing alcohol
Brushing your teeth
Using a rotary toothbrush (if you have a bone graft, you will need to wait 3 months)
Additionally, you may experience bleeding, swelling, nausea, and numbness.
Bleeding: If you start bleeding, you will want to gently bite down and exert slight pressure on a gauze pad for at least 30 minutes. If the bleeding continues, repeat for another 30 minutes. You can also use a tea bag in place of the gauze pad. If bleeding continues despite this, call our office for further instruction.
Swelling: You will likely experience some swelling after your extraction. Swelling usually peaks on the third day and then gets better from there. For the first two days, you can use ice for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. From day three on, you can use heat for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
Nausea: You may experience nausea as an after effect from the anesthesia or from taking pain medication on an empty stomach. To reduce your nausea, take all pain medications with soft food and a large glass of water.
Numbness: the local anesthetic used during your extraction will keep you numb several hours after surgery and can even cause residual numbness or tingling sensations that may last for a few days or weeks. While you are numb, be careful not to bite, chew, pinch, or scratch the affected area, as you can cause damage and not be aware of it.
Please call our office if you have uncontrollable pain, excessive or severe bleeding, marked fever, excessive swelling that occurs three days after your extraction, or reactions to medications such as rash, itching, or breathing issues.
When and what can I eat?
You can begin eating as soon as you regain feeling in your mouth. For the first two days, it is recommended to eat soft, cool foods. Foods that are excessively hot or spicy can irritate the extraction site and cause additional bleeding. Ideal foods include: yogurt, scrambled eggs, applesauce, pudding, ice cream, steamed veggies, fish (without bones), mashed potatoes, pasta, cottage cheese, or any food that is not hard or chewy. You may also want to avoid foods that can become trapped in the extraction site, such as rice. You should also be sure to drink plenty of liquids while you recover. However, avoid alcoholic beverages for at least the first 48 hours, as alcohol can hinder the recovery process and may also interact with your medications.
How can I manage my pain?
After your extraction, some pain is to be expected. However, this can be managed with pain medications. You may be prescribed pain medication or recieve directions for over the counter pain medications. Be sure to follow all instructions regarding your pain medication and do not exceed the recommended dosages. We recommend starting your pain medications before the anesthetic wears off. Depending on the type and dosage of the pain medication you are taking, you may need to avoid driving or drinking alcohol.
How do I care for the extraction site?
To care for your extraction site, you will want to allow the blood clot to form and then avoid disturbing this blood clot. As mentioned before, you will want to abstain from smoking, drinking through a straw, sucking, and swishing liquid in the first 24 hours. In fact, drinking from a straw should be avoided for an entire week. You will also want to prevent crunchy food, toothpicks, eating utensils, or any sharp materials from entering the wound. You may also want to chew on the opposite site of your extraction site altogether.
Additionally, you will need to avoid brushing your teeth within the first 8 hours of your extraction. When you begin brushing again, do so very gently and avoid the extraction site. You will also need to avoid rinsing within the first 24 hours after your extraction, and then begin rinsing very gently with a warm salt water rinse. A warm salt water rinse is composed of one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. You will want to carefully swish this mixture around inside your mouth, then spit. During your recovery, you will need to avoid mouthwash with alcohol altogether.
You will also need to take any prescribed antibiotics as directed. While taking antibiotics, you may want to also take probiotics or eat yogurt to replenish the good bacteria in your gut. Also, if you are a woman, be advised that certain antibiotics will reduce the effectiveness of birth control.
About a week after your extraction, you will have a follow-up appointment to make sure everything is healing properly. If you had sutures placed, these will either fall out on their own or be removed about 3-4 weeks after your extraction.