12 things to remember after a tooth removal

Removal of a tooth can be because of various reasons. An impacted wisdom tooth, a badly decayed tooth, extremely loose tooth, or a crooked tooth that needs to make way for teeth straightening are some of the reasons for tooth removal.

Says Dr Ravindra Savadi—-“Whatever be the reason for a tooth extraction, post operative care for good healing is of paramount importance. You can do the following to ensure good and uneventful recovery of the area.”

Follow your Dentist’s instructions

  • Your dentist or the Oral Surgeon will prescribe some painkillers and/or other medications for smooth recovery of the socket. You have to take these medications at the prescribed intervals for your comfort. 
  • Bite firmly but gently on the  cotton gauze pad that your dentist will place in your mouth. It is important to bite on it securely in place as this reduces bleeding and allow the clot to form in the socket. Change the gauze pads before they become socked in blood.
  • Apply ice packs to the affected area immediately after the procedure to keep the swelling down. Apply the ice packs for 10 minutes at a time.
  • Rest well after the procedure and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the procedure. This may dislodge the clot from the socket and result in healing complications like “Dry Socket”.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water after 24 hours. You can prepare the rinse by dissolving half a tea spoon of salt in 240 mi of water.
  • Avoid cigarettes, carbonated drinks for 24 hours.
  • Do not drink from a straw for 24 hours.
  • Avoid hot, hard and spicy foods. Eat only soft cold and preferably bland food. You can gradually graduate to other foods items.
  • Do not move your tongue to the extraction socket. This may again dislodge the clot and hamper healing.
  • If you want to lie down to rest, keep your head slightly elevated. This will reduce the pain in the area.
  • Do your normal brushing and flossing in the rest of the mouth and avoid the extraction area. Also pay attention to clean your tongue.

What are the complications of a tooth removal? 

Dr Savadi says—-” Generally, post extraction healing is uncomplicated. However, in some cases we may find some minor complications. These include dry socket, post extraction bleeding, sinus perforation in an upper tooth removal, broken root tip of the tooth. With proper care most of these can be well handled by your dentist.”

When should I call my Dentist?

It is normal to feel some pain and discomfort after the anaesthetic effect wears off. You may also experience some swelling if the tooth removal was complicated like an impacted wisdom tooth. You can have residual bleeding from the extraction area. Any extraction socket takes 7 -10 days to heal.  If you follow your Dentist’s instructions, the pain in the area should subside in 2-3 days and the socket will heal well. However, if the bleeding or pain is severe for more than 4 hours of tooth removal, you should call your dentist.

You should also call your dentist if you have any of the following 

  • Any signs of infection which includes fever and chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Excess bleeding even after 4 hours of tooth removal
  • Redness, swelling or excess discharge from the area
  • Cough, shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Increase in pain after 24 to 48 hours after tooth removal. This can be due to “Dry Socket”.

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