Home Care After a Tooth Extraction
Wednesday March 28, 2018 by Melissa Brown, DDS
When you were a kid, you just lost a tooth and placed it under the pillow for the tooth fairy. Now that you’re an adult, things have changed. If you’ve had a tooth extraction, there are certain activities you’re going to want to avoid to keep the surgery site in tip-top shape. Read on to learn the do’s and don’ts of tooth extraction aftercare.
What Can I Eat After a Tooth Extraction?
You’re going to want to stick to soft foods for a few days following an extraction. So, we recommend things like:
- Ice cream
- Cool soups
- Scrambled eggs
Avoid spicy or acidic foods and crunchy snacks for about a week—you’ll want to give the extraction site time to heal before you start munching down on tacos!
Can I Smoke After a Tooth Extraction?
You’re going to want to stop smoking for at least 24 hours after an extraction. However, it really is best to go a full 72 hours without having a cigarette. Unfortunately, smoking delays the healing process, and it can even burst the healing blood clot, leading to a dry socket.
When a tooth’s removed, it leaves a hole in the bone called a socket. A blood clot forms in that hole to protect the nerve endings and bone beneath. When the clot becomes dislodged, the nerve and bone are exposed to air, fluids, and food, which can cause discomfort and infection.
By quitting smoking for 72 hours post-surgery, you’ll reduce your chances of developing a dry socket.
How Else Can I Care for My Mouth After a Tooth Extraction?
To care for your mouth after a tooth extraction, we recommend you:
- Don’t use straws for the first 24 hours—the sucking action can cause a dry socket
- Continue to brush and floss, avoiding the extraction site for 72 hours
- Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours
- After 24 hours, gently rinse your mouth with ½ teaspoon of salt mixed with 8 ounces of water
What Can I Do to Prevent Pain After a Tooth Extraction?
To prevent pain after an extraction, you’re definitely going to want to take the painkillers you’ve been prescribed. If you’re experiencing any swelling, applying ice—or a package of cold peas, for example—to your face for 10 minutes can help.
You can also put vanilla extract or clove oil on the extraction site, using a cotton ball. Vanilla extract is rich in antioxidants and can numb the gum area, whereas clove oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. If the flavor of the clove oil is too strong, you may want to dilute it first with olive oil. Both of these home remedies can help alleviate pain.
What Should I Do If I’m Experiencing Severe Pain After a Tooth Extraction?
If you’re still experiencing severe pain four hours after your extraction, please give us a call so we can take a look at your mouth. Also, call us if you experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, or excessive discharge in the extraction area.
To get a hold of our N. Murray Hill Road office servicing the Western Columbus area, please contact 614.427.0116. To reach our Northern location in Westerville, call 614.508.0044.
You can also schedule non-urgent dental appointments through our online appointment request form.