While your dentist will always do everything possible to save your tooth, sometimes an extraction is the only option. Severe trauma, tooth decay, impaction, gum disease, and overcrowding are all reasons your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. If your tooth could not be restored, extraction is a fairly routine procedure that can usually be completed in less than an hour. Once your tooth is out, the recovery process begins.
The First 24 Hours after a Tooth Extraction
When you have a tooth extracted, the first day of healing is crucial. Be sure to take it easy and avoid any hot food or drinks until the anesthetic wears off. Soon after the extraction, a blood clot will begin to form in your tooth socket. It’s important that you don’t do anything to disturb it or you could end up with a painful dry socket. Keep your tongue away from the socket and, although it’s tempting, do not rinse out your mouth at all. Alcoholic beverages and smoking are also out of the question. Once your anesthetic wears off, you can eat and drink normally, just be sure to choose soft foods and avoid anything that could become lodged in your socket and cause an infection.
If you experience bleeding, remember not to rinse out your mouth. Instead, bite firmly on a clean gauze patch until it stops. Replace your gauze frequently over the first day after your extraction, and the bleeding should subsist.
After the First 24 Hours of Healing
Once you get past your first day, you can gradually start to return to your normal routine. Eating and drinking are fine, but you should still avoid foods like chips or nuts that could disturb your blood clot or become lodged in the socket. If you only had one tooth extracted, chewing all your food on the opposite side of your mouth is a good idea.
Now that your blood clot is fully formed, you can begin gently rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution. This will help clear any debris from your tooth socket so it can heal properly. You can also brush your teeth, just be very gentle around the extraction site and avoid disturbing your blood clot. If you experience any pain, talk to your dentist about appropriate pain relievers as ibuprofen and aspirin can thin the blood and cause bleeding.
Your dentist may recommend a follow-up appointment for difficult extractions like molars, wisdom teeth, or multiple extractions at one time. If you are experiencing uncontrolled bleeding or you think you may have an infection, it’s a good idea to see your dentist immediately to ensure there are no complications.
If you need a dentist in River West Chicago or anywhere else in Chicagoland, American Dental would be happy to see you. We can provide a range of dentistry services including tooth extractions and emergency dentistry, so call us any time you need help caring for your teeth and gums.