Recovering from an extracted tooth? Minimize pain by following these tips.

Proper home care after a tooth extraction is just as important as the procedure itself. Following these guidelines will help to minimize discomfort and potential complications post-surgery. Most discomfort after surgery is due to swelling. Our goal is to keep swelling at a minimum and thus keep pain at a minimum. This is accomplished through the use of ice and anti-inflammatory medications.

After Surgery

  • Gauze: Keep pressure on extraction site with gauze for the first 45 minutes after surgery or until bleeding has mostly stopped. You should change out gauze as needed.
  • Ice: On the day of surgery, apply ice packs to the cheek over which extraction was done. This will help minimize swelling.
  • Medications: Be diligent in taking any pain medications as directed in the time intervals suggested.
  • Rest: Planning to rest the day of surgery as well as taking it easy the day after surgery will help to optimize recovery. Avoid any activities that would cause your pulse or blood pressure to increase.
  • Rinsing: It is imperative that the forming blood clot remains undisturbed. Do not rinse the day of surgery. Avoid vigorous rinsing and swishing. A gentle rinse with salt water that simply bathes the area will help the area heal.
  • No Straws or Tobacco: In order to minimize the chances of “dry socket” avoid any sucking action or tobacco for two weeks while the area is healing.
  • Hygiene: You may use a toothbrush and floss but be very careful and gentle around the extraction site as to not disrupt the blood clot.
  • Diet: Soft foods and liquids are best for healing the first few days after surgery. Avoid any foods that are temperature hot or spicy as they can disrupt healing. When taking in liquids do not use a straw or any sucking action.

What to Expect

  • Bleeding: Some bleeding is to be expected. Keep gauze over the extraction site with firm pressure for at least the first 45 minutes after surgery. If bleeding seems excessive, a moistened tea bag may be placed over the area firmly for 30 minutes. If bleeding has not stopped after several cycles of gauze give our office a call.
  • Swelling: Some swelling is to be expected after surgery. Our goal is to keep any swelling at a minimum. Ice and anti-inflammatory medications (as prescribed by the dentist) will help keep swelling to a minimum. Keep in mind that swelling is not at its maximum the day of the surgery. Swelling is typically at its maximum by either day two or three after surgery.
  • Discoloration: It is normal for the healing site to appear to change color, usually either black, yellow or white.
  • Loose stitches: If stitches become dislodged, simply remove them and throw them away.
  • Bony walls of extraction site: You may feel a roughness at the extraction site that feels like tooth or bone pieces. These are normal and will eventually smooth out on their own.

Dry Socket

  • Dry socket is a painful condition that occurs if the blood clot becomes dislodged. The things that most often cause dry socket are sucking through straws, smoking, vigorous rinsing or being too active in the days immediately following surgery. Dry socket results in a delayed healing of the extraction socket that usually lasts for about a week. Dry socket most often occurs two to three days after surgery. If you think you are experiencing dry socket, please call our office and we will try to help you through the symptoms until the socket is healed.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about your tooth extraction in Draper, Utah, please call our office at (801) 571-6688. Dr. Chase Judd, our dentist, can help you get the relief you need.