Treat Your Mouth With Care After A Tooth Extraction

There are lots of reasons why a tooth may have to be extracted in an adult. Your tooth may be badly decayed or damaged, or you may risk infection spreading throughout your mouth. If your dentist has recommended a tooth extraction, you'll need to know what to do after the procedure is finished. Hear are some tips. 

Managing Pain

  • Your dentist may prescribe pain killers for any discomfort you feel following the procedure. Take these as directed, letting your dentist know if you experience any problematic side effects. 
  • If your pain medication makes you feel nauseous, try eating a small amount of food before taking the medicine. 
  • Keep an ice pack on the area where the tooth was pulled. This can help control swelling as well as numb the tender area. 
  • Relax. Spend the day after you've had a tooth extracted staying still and taking it easy. Don't attempt to lift heavy objects or get up quickly. 

Controlling Bleeding

  • Your dentist will fill the extraction site with gauze. Bite down gently on it and keep it in place for an hour unless the bleeding is too heavy. After the first hour, change the gauze about every 30 minutes as long as the site continues to bleed steadily. 
  • A little bit of blood is normal for the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. 
  • Keep your head propped up to minimize bleeding from the extraction site. 
  • Don't spit for 24 hours after having your tooth extracted. 
  • Don't use a straw for 24 hours. The sucking motion can cause the blood clot in the extraction site to come loose. 
  • Don't smoke for 24 hours.  
  • Avoid strenuous exercise for 3 or 4 days after the extraction. Jostling the area can cause bleeding. 

Preventing Infection

  • Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics either to treat an infection that is present or to prevent an infection at the extraction site. Take these as directed until they are gone. 
  • Continue your regular dental hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing. Skip over the extraction site at first and then brush gently until it is healed. 
  • Begin rinsing with salt water 2 or 3 times each day 24 hours after the procedure. Do this by mixing 8 ounces of water with a tablespoon of salt. Swish the mixture in your mouth and gently spit it into a sink. 

Having a tooth extracted isn't fun, but it is often necessary. Follow your dentist's instructions and call if you experience problems.