So you just had a tooth removed. The dentist probably rattled off a list of directions for you to follow but was talking way to fast and may have confused you with all the information thrown at you after an anxiety producing experience. I try to avoid the information overload with my patients but it’s not always successful.

Today’s video goes into detail about what to do after having a tooth pulled so you can listen again in the comfort of your own home if you are confused. I’ve also posted the printed directions we give to our patients summarizing the most important things to do to promote faster healing. 

Apply pressure with gauze to stop the bleeding
After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times. If you run out of gauze, you may take a tea bag of any kind and firmly bite down on it for 30 minutes. Pink or blood-tinged saliva may be seen for 2-3 days following the surgery and does not indicate a problem.

Minimize swelling to minimize discomfort
Swelling is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and healing. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Apply the ice to the outside of the face, 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off, while awake for the first 24 hours. After the first 24 hours, stop using ice and use a warm moist heat compresses to relieve swelling and aid in muscle discomfort. The swelling will begin to decrease after the third day.

Pain medication
Unfortunately, it is normal to experience mild to moderate pain after a tooth extraction. Try to take some pain medication before the numbness wears off. Ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), are both good over the counter medications to take that will also help to minimize swelling. Dr. Kamodia recommends 600mg of ibuprofen (3 tablets) every 6 hours for the first 3 days. If that is not providing enough pain relief, alternating the ibuprofen with extra strength Tylenol (500mg) will help.

How to promote faster healing
After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids healing. Do NOT smoke, suck on straws, or rinse vigorously for one week. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and retard the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24-48 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

Your first day will consist of soft, cool foods such as: yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, and ice cream. Soup is a great option as long as it is room temperature. Avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, chips etc., which may get lodged in the socket. Focus on drinking lots of fluids and eating soft, nutritious foods.

Long term healing
The best way to prevent infection and ensure healing is to keep your mouth clean. Clean your mouth thoroughly after each meal beginning the day after surgery by rinsing GENTLY with warm salt water. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste every morning and night to keep your teeth and the extraction site clean. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh.

After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, or swelling that is not decreasing after 3 days please call our office immediately—(607)-785-1900.