What to Do After a Tooth Extraction (and What to Avoid)

The first few days after having a tooth pulled can be a little uncomfortable but it’s important to take care of yourself so you can heal well and as quickly as possible. Your dentist will provide you with specific instructions after your procedure but these guidelines apply to almost all extractions.

Things to DO

  • Rest: your body will need rest after a dental procedure like this and rest will also ensure that the clot has time to form at the extraction site
  • Take pain relievers: OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen help reduce discomfort and swelling
  • Use cold compresses: an ice pack (or even a frozen bag of peas) can help reduce the swelling after a tooth extraction
  • Use a saline rinse: saline (or warm salt water) helps to kill bacteria in the mouth, preventing infection while your mouth heals
  • Elevate your head: use a couple of extra pillows for the first night after a tooth extraction to keep your head elevated and prevent any additional bleeding
  • Eat soft foods: soft foods are less likely to dislodge the clot that forms and shouldn’t irritate your gums
  • Drink plenty of water: fluids help your body to heal after an injury or invasive procedure

Things to AVOID

  • Drink through a straw: the sucking action can pull the clot from the extraction site and lead to a dry socket
  • Smoke: the chemicals in cigarette smoke can dissolve the blood clot and lead to prolonged bleeding or even a dry socket
  • Brush your teeth: this can irritate your gums or dislodge the clot
  • Take aspirin: NSAID pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen won’t affect clotting while aspirin can make it harder for the clot to form and lead to prolonged bleeding
  • Eat crunchy or hard foods: pieces of certain foods can get caught in the extraction site and cause pain and possibly infection – stick to soup, applesauce, yogurt, and similar soft foods
  • Exercise: the increase in blood pressure can increase bleeding after a tooth extraction
  • Rinse in the first 24 hours: it’s important to allow the clot to form undisturbed for the first 24 hours

Be sure to follow these as well as your dentist’s guidance after a tooth extraction. This is a common procedure and will be some discomfort but if you are experiencing severe pain, swelling, or bleeding, call Nimmi Shine Dental at (951) 695-1027 in Temecula or (858) 999-8550 in San Diego to let our staff know.

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