After tooth extraction, its important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Biting on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment assists control of bleeding. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, insert another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 45 minutes. A tea bag moistened with cool water will also assist in the control of bleeding. As always, constant firm pressure is most important. Avoid checking the wound too often, as removing/replacing gauze or tea bags frequently will likely worsen bleeding rather than help.
After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids healing. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth directly adjacent to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and retard the healing process. It is also important to avoid chewing solid food, which could push it down into the extraction socket and result in a dry socket. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel discomfort and experience swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Apply ice to the area continuously, alternating 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. The swelling usually begins to subside after 48 to 72 hours. Sleeping with your head elevated will also reduce swelling.
Use the pain medication as directed. Avoid taking pain medications on an empty stomach. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if you feel as though the infection has resolved. Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call the office for further assistance.