Do you feel discomfort and soreness after getting a tooth extraction? You’re not alone. Studies show that approximately 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted every year. And it’s normal to experience some swelling in your face in the aftermath – after all, your tooth was removed from its socket.
We’re here to guide you through the post-extraction phase; from ways to manage pain and speed up the healing process to foods you should and shouldn’t eat.
Postoperative home care
To avoid any postoperative complications, it’s important to facilitate the extraction site in healing quickly and properly. Follow the instructions given by the dentist and you can expect to heal with 7–10 days.
Don’t dislodge the clot
Make sure to keep the blood clot in place at the tooth socket. Dislodging it can lead to a painful condition called a dry socket. Bite down on the gauze provided by the dentist and make sure to keep it in place for about an hour. Doing so puts pressure on the wound and helps stop the bleeding. To aid the clotting process; if the bleeding persists for a few hours, put a wet tea bag on the socket.
Get some rest!
Try to limit your activities following the operation and rest for up to 24 hours. It helps to keep the pillow in a slightly upright position when resting.
Don’t rinse or spit vigorously for 24 hours
Brushing gently around the tooth socket helps the healing process. Warm saline rinses before meals and bedtime up to 24 hours after the operation help maintain good oral hygiene. You can resume your normal routine of brushing and flossing after a day has passed.
Don’t smoke or drink through a straw
The chemicals in cigarettes increase the chances of you developing a dry socket. Therefore, don’t smoke for at least 48 hours after the extraction. You should also avoid any sort of sipping or spitting until completely healed.
Pro tip: Schedule an appointment with a dentist if you experience a radiating pain spreading to your head, neck and/or ear(s) — these are symptoms of a dry socket.
Take a soft diet
Take only soft foods for a week—soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes, applesauce or pudding are recommended. You can make a smoothie but make sure to eat it with a spoon. Also avoid hot and spicy foods as well as sodas. You can resume your normal diet after the extraction site has healed.
How you manage the pain — brace yourself!
You can reduce symptoms of discomfort and swelling by taking the painkillers or over-the-counter medications recommended by the dentist.
In case you experience heavy bleeding (consistent with a nosebleed) or if the pain suddenly worsens, call the dentist’s office immediately to rule out an infection.
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