Post-Operative Care After Tooth Extractions
Tooth extraction is one of the most common dental procedures and is performed for those with tooth decay, uncomfortable wisdom teeth, or in preparation for orthodontic treatment. Even though this procedure is so common, it is also very serious and the recovery process requires detailed care.
Post-operative care instructions
- Keep pressure on the surgical area – To prevent bleeding, the patient should bite down on a gauze pad or sponge in intervals of 45-60 minutes, repeating until the bleeding lessens. If the area begins to dry out, dampen the gauze with water. A moistened tea bag can also be used as the tannic acid helps contract blood vessels. Change the gauze or tea bag as needed.
- Elevate the head – Limit physical activity as much as possible and keep the head elevated.
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Patients should not drink through a straw for the next 5-7 days.
- Use salt-water rinses – Every 1-2 hours, the patient should rinse their mouth out with warm salt water. To avoid irritation to the wound, patients should not use any mouthwash containing alcohol.
- Use ice packs – Facial swelling is normal after tooth extraction surgery. But to minimize swelling of the face, patients can apply an ice pack to the facial area near the extraction.
- Take prescribed medication – Dentists will prescribe their patients medications to prevent pain and infection after the surgery is complete.
- Eat soft foods – Patients should maintain a diet of soft food throughout their recovery but eat plenty of proteins.
- Maintain good oral hygiene – Keep the mouth clean by maintaining good oral hygiene habits. Avoid brushing the sutures but brush around the surgical site.
- Refrain from tobacco – Any tobacco products should not be used within 3-4 days of surgery as tobacco has been proven to increase the risk of infection and dry sockets.
In most cases, recovery lasts between 3 and 14 days. The sutures should naturally fall out or dissolve unless the dentist uses non-resorbable sutures. In that case, a follow-up appointment is required to have the stitches removed.
Over time, the empty socket left by the tooth extraction will fill in with bone and gum tissue and smooth over.
If any excessive swelling or itching occurs, patients should contact their dentist immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
Possible complications after a tooth extraction in Brooklyn, NY
Some of the most common complications after tooth extraction surgery include the following:
- Dry socket
When the blood clot in the tooth socket becomes irritated or removed before healing is complete, a dry socket will occur. This results in unbearable pain and throbbing that can be felt up to the ear.
Food debris can also get stuck in the socket, causing irritation. Dry socket is not an infection but should be treated by a dentist immediately.
Bleeding is to be expected for the first 48 hours after surgery. During the first 36 hours, pinkish-tinted saliva and oozing are common. Sitting upright, raised tempers, and exercising will increase blood flow to the head and cause more bleeding. Avoid these if possible. If bleeding continues after 48 hours, patients should call their dentist.
Numbness can last 10-12 hours after the surgery and is entirely normal. If numbness lasts much longer, patients can contact their dentist.
Prior to surgery patients do not eat, leaving their blood sugar levels lower than normal. After surgery, patients may report feeling lightheaded or dizzy. Eating something sugary and soft, staying in a relaxed position, and reducing the elevation of the head should lead to immediate relief.
Trismus, or pain while opening and closing the mouth due to a sore jaw, joints, and chewing muscles is very common for patients after surgery. The mouth will remain sore for 3-5 days of recovery but should subside.
To ask your questions or express concerns about tooth extraction surgery recovery, or if you are experiencing any complications not mentioned, contact us at Brooklyn Dentist so we can provide you with urgent dental care in Brooklyn, NY.