What are do’s and don’ts after tooth extraction?

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dos and donts after tooth extraction
By Sanders Family Dental

Tooth extractions are a common dental procedure, but that doesn’t mean they’re always fun. After the initial discomfort subsides, you might be wondering how to care best for your mouth to promote healing and prevent complications. Here’s a breakdown of the do’s and don’ts to follow after a tooth extraction in Lombard.

Do: Let the Clot Form

Following a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms in the socket where your tooth once resided. This clot is essential for healing and preventing infection. Here’s how to nurture this delicate clot:

  • Avoid forceful activities: Strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, or anything that significantly elevates your heart rate can dislodge the clot. Take it easy for the first 24-48 hours.
  • Don’t rinse or spit forcefully: This includes avoiding straws, which create suction in the mouth and can dislodge the clot.
  • Stick to soft foods: Opt for lukewarm or cold liquids like broth, yogurt, and applesauce. Gradually introduce soft, easily chewable foods like mashed potatoes or steamed vegetables as your mouth heals.

Don’t: Tamper with the Extraction Site

While it’s natural to be curious about the extraction site, avoid poking or probing the area with your tongue or fingers. This can cause irritation to the wound and interfere with healing.

Do: Manage Pain and Swelling

Some pain and swelling are normal after a tooth extraction. Your dentist will probably prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort. Apply an ice pack to the outside of your cheek for 20-minute intervals at a time, separated by 20-minute breaks, to reduce swelling.

Don’t: Forget About Oral Hygiene

It is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene after a tooth extraction. However, you’ll need to adjust your routine slightly to avoid disturbing the clot.

  • Skip brushing for the first 24 hours: After that, gently brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, avoiding the extraction site.
  • Embrace salt water rinses: Mix a teaspoon of salt with warm water and gently swish for 30 seconds after meals and before bed. This helps keep the mouth clean and promotes healing.

Do: Watch Out for Dry Socket

Dry socket is a painful condition that occurs when the blood clot in the extraction site dislodges prematurely, exposing the underlying bone and nerves. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Throbbing pain in the extraction site that worsens after a few days
  • Visible bone in the socket
  • Bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your Lombard dentist immediately. Early intervention can minimize discomfort and promote healing.

Don’t Smoke or Vape

Smoking and vaping can significantly hinder healing and increase the risk of infection. The harsh chemicals in cigarettes and vape products irritate the extraction site and impede blood clot formation. Avoid smoking or vaping for at least a week after your extraction.

Do: Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how you feel after your extraction. If you experience any unusual pain, swelling, or bleeding that concerns you, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. Early detection and treatment of any potential complications can significantly improve your healing journey.

Beyond the Basics: Optimizing Your Recovery

  • Get plenty of rest: Allow your body to focus on healing by getting sufficient sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Prop your head up: Elevate your head with extra pillows while sleeping to reduce swelling and promote drainage.
  • Apply a warm compress: After the initial 24-48 hours of using ice packs, you can switch to a warm compress to soothe discomfort. A warm compress can help relax tense muscles and promote blood flow to the area, aiding healing.
  • Dietary Considerations: While sticking to soft foods initially is crucial, remember essential nutrients. Include nutrient-rich liquids like smoothies made with fruits, vegetables, and yogurt in your diet. As your mouth heals, gradually introduce soft yet nutritious foods like fish, eggs, and well-cooked beans. These foods provide essential protein and vitamins to support healing.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment: Your dentist will likely schedule a follow-up appointment to check on your healing progress and remove any stitches. Please ensure you attend this appointment and communicate any concerns you may have.

Remember, a Lombard dentist is your partner in oral health. By following their instructions and prioritizing proper care after your tooth extraction, you’ll be well on your way to a smooth and comfortable healing process. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist with any questions or concerns you may have.

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