Post-extraction care at home

First of all, kudos to you for getting that bad tooth pulled. Keeping that rotten tooth in your mouth could have had many bad consequences to your health such as Infection of the face and jaw bone (Osteomyelitis), Infection spreading to lungs ( Mediastinitis), infection of Brain (Encephalitis) etc. Many of these infections can lead to the need for hospitalization and eventually some major surgeries. In fact, In some case, it can be fatal too. So, extraction of an infected tooth should be done ASAP.

The removal of teeth is a surgical procedure, and post-operative care is imperative.

Please follow all instructions carefully to avoid any unnecessary pain and possible infection. If you have any difficulties or concerns following your surgery, please do not hesitate to call your doctor or return to the practice for a follow-up exam.

                                                                                            Some important instructions to remember

  1. Keep putting pressure on gauze for 45-60  minutes to stop bleeding. If bleeding continues, gently remove the gauze and place another wet gauze. Continue to apply light pressure. Change gauze as needed until active bleeding is stopped. Bleeding is natural and a required part of the healing process. Most of the initial bleeding is usually resolved after the first couple of hours following an extraction but patients should expect an “oozing” of blood for 24 hrs. This oozing of blood is not active bleeding but may discolor the saliva pink. As the blood clot begins to form be careful not to tear it out by gently removing the gauze and wetting the gauze if necessary. Removal of the blood clot will result in renewed bleeding.

  Home Remedy:- Keeping a wet tea bag at extraction site may also help in controlling bleeding.

 

      2. Things to avoid for first 48 hours:-

  •          No smoking for at least 48 hours as smoking can lead to Dry Socket. Even Vapor/ chew tobacco has nicotine that can cause dry socket.
  •          No Carbonated drink through a straw. Sucking through a straw puts negative pressure on extraction site that causes dislodgement of the clot from the socket.
  •          Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, avoid  blowing your nose, No excessive spitting
  •         Eat hot soup or drink hot liquids • Avoid physical exertion as it increases pumping of blood and prolongs bleeding).
  • Take it easy! Any of these things may cause the blood clot to dislodge from the “socket,” causing a “dry socket” and result in unnecessary pain. If you get a dry socket it usually starts about 2-3 days after the extraction and feels like a strong throbbing in the area where the tooth used to be. Please call us if this occurs, this condition can be easily treated.

 

3) Maintain a soft diet for the remainder of the day. Things like warm (not hot) soup, ice cream, smoothies (remember no straws), etc. It’s recommended to wait 3 hours (or until the numbness wears off) before consuming food.

4) It is very helpful to apply ice packs on the area of your face next to the extraction site for first 24 hours. Ice pack helps in numbing the area to reduce pain as well as decrease blood flow to the area. By reducing blood flow to the area for first 24 hours, we can reduce inflammation and swelling. After 24 hours,  apply the ice pack on for 20 minutes and then off for 20 minutes. Application of heat pack/towel increases the blood increase circulation and promote healing.

 

5) If you were given medication, take it according to the instructions. If you have any over the counter medications at home you may take them according to the instructions. Any prescription medications (antibiotics or painkillers) should be taken exactly as directed. It’s recommended to take 800 mg of Ibuprofen with 1000 mg of Tylenol within one hour after your surgery. Do not take Aspirin as this may promote bleeding.

6) Lightly brush the area, you should expect the gum tissue to be tender for a few days. After 24 hours start rinsing gently with warm salt water (2 tablespoons of salt in 1 glass of lukewarm Water) every 4-6 hours for a week. Saltwater promotes the antibacterial environment.

7) After eating you will most likely get food in the extraction socket. Do not pick the food out of the socket. Instead, gently rinse or swish the food out. Picking the food out very often disturbs the blood clot and initiates further bleeding. Any remaining small food particles will be pushed out or metabolized by the body. Warm salt is better than alcohol-containing mouthwash.

 

8) Elevate your head with an extra pillow at night time. This will prevent extra blood pressure in the area from disturbing the blood clot.

 

If any problems or questions arise, please contact your dentist ASAP. If the dentist is not available and it is an emergency, please go to ER. Especially in cases of profuse bleeding and swelling, it is very important to get timely treatment.

 

Patients who got multiple/all teeth removed and immediate dentures placed, should keep the dentures in for first 24 hours to help in healing. It is very important to keep them in as they act as a band-aid and stop bleeding immediately. If you do not keep the dentures in, gums swell and you will not be able to get the denture in again without a lot of adjustments.