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Dental Extraction Recovery Tips

by Williams, Daily & Frazier on Aug 18, 2022 4:00:00 AM

Are you scheduled to have a tooth removed? If so, you may be wondering what to expect during the recovery process. The better you're able to care for your mouth after having a tooth pulled, the less likely you'll be to experience discomfort, infection, or a dry socket. Here are some tips to help make your recovery as smooth as possible. Good luck!

Let The Healing Begin

After you get a tooth pulled, it's important to do things that will help a blood clot form so the bleeding stops and the healing process can begin.

We ask patients to bite on gauze after their extraction but to not keep the same piece of gauze in for more than 20-30 minutes.

To make sure a blood clot forms and to prevent pain, we recommend sticking to soft foods for a few days, avoiding spicy, acidic, and crunchy foods, not smoking or using straws for at least 24 hours, and continuing to brush and floss but avoiding the extraction site.

Don't Irritate The Extraction Site

The first few days after extraction are crucial for proper healing. It's important to eat soft foods that won't irritate the extraction site. Save hard textures and crunchy foods for later, after your mouth is completely healed.

Some great examples of foods to eat after a dental extraction include things like:

  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Applesauce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Room temperature oatmeal, grits
  • Pudding

You can gradually begin re-introducing firmer foods after a couple of days. In the beginning, do your best to chew on the opposite side of your mouth from the extraction site.

Get Plenty of Rest

One of the best things you can do after a dental extraction is to get plenty of rest.

Try to relax in a recliner or sleep with your head elevated on several pillows. This will help to reduce swelling and blood pressure around the extraction site.

Controlling Pain

It is important to use pain medication only as directed and to contact us if it doesn’t seem to be working. Most of the time, an anti-inflammatory pain reliever like Motrin (ibuprofen) is all you'll need. Just be sure not to take more than is advised

If antibiotics are prescribed, be sure to take them for the indicated length of time – even if all signs of possible infection are gone.

Saltwater Rinse

Another method for preventing infection that we recommend is gently rinsing your mouth with a mixture of salt (½ – 1 tsp.) and warm water (8 oz.) three times a day and after meals, starting the day after your extraction.

It is also important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours (brushing and flossing every day) to speed up the healing process.

Using a Straw After Tooth Extraction

You might be wondering why this is all relevant. Well, after a tooth extraction, it's important that you don't use a straw for at least 24 hours. The reason being is that when you suck on a straw, it creates suction. This suction can interfere with blood clot formation. If the blood clot fails to form correctly or is dislodged, the nerves and bones beneath remain exposed, leading to pain and discomfort. This is what is referred to as a dry socket. 

So to avoid this scenario, you shouldn’t use a straw for at least 24 hours after an extraction, and waiting 72 hours is even better.

Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist in Raleigh, NC with a dedicated team of dentists, assistants, hygienists and administrators who are enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes.
Contact Williams, Daily & Frazier at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.

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