man sleeping on couchIn severe cases, gum disease, tooth decay, trauma, and crowded teeth can all lead to a tooth extraction. This is a common procedure for adults, but the healing process should be taken seriously. If the extractions site isn’t properly cared for, several issues may arise. These issues include:

  • Dry socket
  • Inflammation
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Delayed healing

If you are experiencing unusual symptoms after a recent tooth extraction, contact your dental team today. Even if your symptoms are nothing to be worried about, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Your dental team will be happy to ease your mind.

To avoid these complications following a tooth extraction, do these ten things:

1. Take the prescribed medication.

Your oral surgeon will give you specific instructions about when to take the medication. Be sure to have a family member or friend listen in on your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions, especially when it comes to medication.

Once your procedure is complete, your oral surgeon will most likely prescribe antibiotics and pain medication to you. You should take the antibiotics exactly as directed until the entire bottle is finished. Pain medication should be taken as needed.

2. Leave the gauze.

Wait 30 minutes from the time you leave the oral surgeon’s office to remove your gauze. If your mouth is still bleeding, replace the gauze and gently bite down on it for another 30 minutes.

If this doesn’t help, try using a caffeinated tea bag. Place the tea bag in water just enough to get it wet, then bite down on it for 15 minutes. This will help shrink the blood vessels around the extraction site and reduce bleeding.

If the bleeding persists, contact your oral surgery specialists to learn what to do next.

3. Apply ice.

For the first 24 hours, you can apply ice to reduce inflammation and swelling. Place an ice pack on your face for 20 minutes then remove for 20 minutes. You can do this off and on for the first day, but ice will not be beneficial in the following days.

4. Rest. Rest. Rest.

You may experience drowsiness for up to 36 hours after surgery. Regardless, you should plan on doing nothing for at least 24 hours after your surgery. So, prepare easy meals, take off work, and have someone on call to care for you during this time.

Doing too much after surgery can increase your heart rate and result in excessive bleeding of the surgical area.

5. Don’t use a straw.

During your 24 hours of resting, avoid straws, rinsing, and spiting. These actions can dislodge the blood clot and lead to bleeding or infection.

6. Use salt-water.

After 24 hours, regularly (about three times a day) rinse your mouth with a salt-water solution to ward off any disease-causing bacteria. Swish the solution around your mouth gently so you don’t disturb the extraction area.

7. Avoid smoking.

Smoking will drastically slow down the healing process and can cause even more pain. You should abstain from smoking, and any other form of tobacco, as long as possible.

8. Prop your head up.

While lying down to sleep, watch tv, or read, it’s important to keep your head elevated with pillows. If you normally sleep on your side, you’ll have to sleep on your back for the next couple of nights so you can keep your head upright. This will help reduce swelling, pressure, and bleeding.

9. Eat properly.

For the first week, you should avoid spicy, hard, and crunchy foods. Instead, drink lots of liquids and eat soft foods that are full of nutrition, such as:

  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Pasta
  • Eggs
  • Fish

You should be able to resume your normal diet after a week.

10. Continue brushing and flossing.

Brush and floss your teeth like normal in the days following your surgery. Just be sure to avoid the surgical site. Add an antibacterial mouthwash to your routine as well, but don’t swish too vigorously to avoid accidentally dislodging the blood clot.

For Further Instructions

If you have any more questions about post-operative care for your tooth extraction, check out your oral surgeon’s website for instructions or contact his or her office directly.

You can also take a look at our Colleyville oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions here for more information.

For information about our oral surgery practice, contact our team today at 817-552-3223.