So, you’ve had a dental problem and after consulting with your dental provider you’ve decided to have the tooth extracted. What should you expect and how can you help expedite the healing process? Grant Dental is here to help answer your questions, as knowing how the process is likely to proceed can help you understand what is normal and when you might need to contact your dentist for follow up care.
Immediately after your extraction: For your comfort during your procedure, you will have a local anesthetic numb the area of the extraction. Immediately after the extraction we will provide you gauze for you to bite down on for 30 minutes at a time until bleeding slows down. We also will provide you a prescription for a pain reliever that you (or a family member) will want to fill soon after your appointment.
Pain control: As soon as you get home, we recommend that you begin taking an anti-inflammatory pain reliever like Ibuprofen as directed on the bottle to help as the numbing from the procedure wears off. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken for those who are unable to take anti-inflammatories. If you find these over-the-counter medications are not controlling your pain, then you may take the prescription pain medication as provided.
It surprises many patients to know that swelling and pain often peaks on the 3rd or 4th day after your extraction – this is totally normal! You can help minimize swelling by placing an ice pack near the affected site for 30 minute intervals during the first 48 hours after surgery. After the initial 48 hours, using moist heat in the form of a warm, damp towel can be helpful.
Care of the extraction site: It’s completely normal to have minor bleeding or oozing from the surgical site during the first day. After the initial bleeding slows down, it’s best to avoid using gauze at the surgical site to avoid disturbing the natural healing process. But if active bleeding begins again, then rinse your mouth with cold water and apply pressure to fresh gauze for 15-30 minutes, which should control the bleeding again in the vast majority of cases. If bleeding continues uncontrolled, contact your provider.
Allowing the surgical site to rest as much as possible during the first 24 hours will help the healing process. This means avoiding vigorous chewing or excessive spitting or rinsing of your mouth. Soft, cool foods (think Jello or applesauce) that require little or no chewing are best initially. You can resume brushing your teeth the day following the procedure, but be careful around the extraction site. Avoid smoking completely – it will slow the healing process and could contribute to potential infection.
Activity after your extraction: Take it easy for the first 48 hours after your extraction, as excessive exertion (such as vigorous exercise) may cause bleeding or discomfort. When you lie down, it is best to keep your head elevated using a pillow. Driving should be avoided for 24 hours if your extraction was done under general anesthesia or IV sedation, and at any time when you are taking prescription pain medications.
Following these instructions will give you the best chance of a speedy and complete recovery from your extraction. If you think you may need to have a tooth extracted in Boise or Meridian, the team of professionals at Grant Dental are committed to helping you have the best possible experience – contact us today!