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The Do’s and Don’ts of Tooth Extraction Aftercare

Whether you need a tooth extraction or you’re getting your wisdom teeth removed, proper aftercare is essential for a smooth and comfortable recovery. But aftercare goes beyond getting rest and drinking water. You may need to make some minor changes to your daily routine to prevent complications. Below, we share six important aftercare tips to help you navigate the post-procedure recovery with ease. 

Six Tips for a Comfortable Recovery After a Tooth Extraction

1: Do Manage the Pain and Swelling

It’s normal to experience some pain and swelling after a tooth extraction procedure. It should go away within a few days after surgery. However, if your discomfort lasts longer than a week, let your dentist know right away. 

To manage the initial pain, take any medications prescribed by your dentist or over-the-counter medications as directed. Gently rinsing with warm salt water (½ teaspoon salt to 8oz of warm water) can also help to relieve pain. 

You can also try applying a cold compress to your cheek to help reduce swelling. Wrap an ice pack, bag of frozen vegetables, or a ziplock bag of ice in a soft towel, then apply to your cheek for ten minutes. Wait at least five minutes before re-applying to give your skin a rest. 

2: Don’t Eat Hard, Acidic, or Hot Foods

It’s crucial that you eat a soft food diet and opt for cool or room-temperature foods during the first few days after a tooth extraction. Think mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, yogurt, etc. Hot, acidic, and hard or chewy foods can irritate the extraction site, causing complications. Before you eat soup or drink hot tea, make sure it has cooled down to room temperature. It’s also important to avoid things like popcorn, nuts, and seeds, because pieces might get stuck in the extraction site.

3: Do Stay Hydrated (But Don’t Use a Straw)

Drinking plenty of water will promote healing. However, you should avoid using straws during a tooth extraction recovery. The suction motion may dislodge the blood clot that forms in the extraction site, leading to a painful complication called dry socket

4: Do Keep the Extraction Site Clean

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial after a tooth extraction. Gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater three to four times a day to keep the extraction site clean and promote healing. Mix ½ teaspoon with a glass of warm water, and gently swish, but don’t spit—let the water fall out of your mouth. Spitting in the first seven days can disturb the blood clot. 

Avoid brushing near the extraction area for the first couple of days, because that might irritate or dislodge the blood clot. Above all, be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions for a safe and effective cleaning routine. 

5: Don’t Smoke Tobacco or Drink Alcohol

Tobacco and alcohol consumption can delay the healing process and increase the risk of complications. You should always avoid smoking or vaping tobacco and other substances during recovery, because the sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot. It’s also important to avoid drinking alcohol as well as using mouthwashes that contain alcohol while you heal. Alcohol can irritate or dry out the tooth socket and slow healing. 

6: Do Take It Easy

Rest is a crucial component of a speedy recovery, so make sure to avoid strenuous activities. Ask someone else to help you out if you need childcare or pet care, or to watch over you during the first day while the anesthesia wears off. Take it easy, get plenty of sleep, and give your body the time it needs to heal. 

PRF Therapy Can Enhance Tooth Extraction Recovery

At Copper Creek Dental, we offer Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF) therapy to improve recovery after tooth extractions and other dental surgeries. PRF therapy uses a small amount of the patient’s own blood to create a fibrin matrix that is rich in platelets, growth factors, and white blood cells. When applied to the extraction site, PRF promotes faster healing, reduces pain, and minimizes the risk of complications. 

Tooth Extractions in South Jordan, Utah

Proper aftercare is essential for a comfortable and speedy recovery after a tooth extraction. At Copper Creek Dental, we’re experienced in both simple and surgical tooth extractions. If you need your wisdom teeth removed, or have any concerns about your dental health, call us at 801-280-1911 today to schedule a consultation. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/12/2024). Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

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