Recovery from a tooth extraction is different for everyone. It depends on several factors, such as the type of extraction (simple vs. surgical), the location of the tooth, and your overall health. In general, however, you can expect some soreness and swell for the first few days after the procedure. If you’re experiencing a toothache, talk to a North York Family Dentist so they can help you explore available treatment options.
Full recovery, including the healing of the jawbone, can take several weeks. But, the swelling and other symptoms usually abate in two to three days, allowing you to resume your normal day-to-day routine. All the same, if you undergo an impacted tooth extraction, you may experience pain for up to three weeks or longer. However, your situation may be different. If you have any concerns or experience excessive pain, contact your dentist.
Still, aftercare is critical and, to a significant extent, impacts recovery time. After having a tooth pulled, it’s normal to feel some discomfort and have some bleeding. And with proper aftercare, you can experience a speedy and complication-free recovery. To that end, here are some steps to take care of the extraction site and hopefully speed things along:
1. Apply an Ice Pack
After tooth extraction, apply an ice pack to your cheek to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. Doing so also helps to keep the area clean by reducing blood flow. Wrap the ice pack in a thin towel and place it on the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time.
Take breaks so that you do not damage your skin. You may use an ice pack for the first few days after your extraction or until the swelling goes down. This approach is a simple and effective way to promote recovery and reduce discomfort after tooth extraction.
2. Avoid Smoking
Smoking after tooth extraction can also dislodge the blood clot at the extraction site. Plus, it can slow down the healing process and increase your risk for infection. Besides, the suction from smoking can also cause the surgical site to bleed. As such, avoiding smoking for at least 48 hours or longer after your tooth extraction is advisable.
3. Stick to Soft Foods
Eating hard foods while your mouth is healing can damage the blood clot that forms at the tooth extraction site. This can lead to dry socket, a condition normally characterized by pain as your nerves and bone are exposed. To avoid this, eat soft foods for the first few days after an extraction. If you must use a straw, try sipping through a straw placed further back in your mouth. Otherwise, using a cup will suffice.
Afterward, you can gradually add harder foods back into your diet. However, it is best to avoid crunchy or chewy foods for at least a week to give the extraction site time to heal.
4. Brush Gently
While brushing your teeth is critical to overall dental hygiene, consider doing so gently, especially around the extraction site. Hard brushing can irritate the gums and slow down the healing process.
Also, rinse your mouth with salt water at least thrice a day. Alternatively, use an antimicrobial mouthwash to keep the site clean and free of food debris. While at it, remember to floss the other areas as you normally do.
5. Take Your Medication
Depending on the procedure you undergo, your dentist may prescribe a painkiller, an antibiotic, or both. It’s essential to take these medications exactly as prescribed and finish the entire course of treatment. The painkiller will help you manage pain and discomfort, while the antibiotic prevents infection.
In some cases, your dentist may also recommend over-the-counter pain medication. in short, following your dentist’s instructions can help ensure a quick and comfortable recovery.
6. Prop Your Head Up
Find something to lean your head against when you lie down to prevent bleeding and promote healing. You can use a pillow or a stack of towels to do this. Just remember to change the position of your head every few hours to avoid putting too much pressure on one spot.
All factors considered, tooth extraction is not a fun prospect for anyone. But, sometimes, you might need a tooth pulled to maintain your dental health. For instance, an extraction may be the only feasible option if your tooth is severely decayed or damaged or you have an impacted wisdom tooth. And while it’s not a pleasant experience, it may be a ‘necessary evil.’ And to help ensure a smooth and speedy recovery, follow these aftercare guidelines after tooth extraction.