No one likes it when a tooth extraction is necessary, but sometimes it is required for your best oral health. And as the anesthesia wears off, your dentist will explain some things you should do to care for the extraction site. These simple steps will help keep your mouth healthy after extraction.
An extraction, by its very nature, leaves a wound. It’s the good type of wound, one that is designed to heal. While dentists do their best to keep the wound small, they can only do so much. As a patient, it’s imperative that you keep everything healthy post-extraction.
Dr. Shaun Alex recommends good oral hygiene after an extraction to ensure the best possible outcome. After your extraction at District Cosmetic Dental, you should follow these suggestions to keep your mouth healthy.
Most post-extraction care focuses on not doing things. Don’t over exert yourself for a few days after the extraction. Vigorous activity could reopen the wound or knock stitches loose, opening the door for infection. Just stay in and relax – doctor’s orders!
Avoid alcohol and tobacco for at least 48 hours. Tobacco use is the leading cause of dry sockets, according to the Mayo Clinic. Both can interfere with the healing process and introduce bacteria to the healing area.
Don’t eat crunchy food, hard food, and food with kernels for at least eight weeks. We recommend smoothies and milkshakes, but with a caveat – no straws. Drink directly from the container or use a spoon, as suction could pull out your stitches.
Oral care tips
Use an ice pack for 15 minutes on your jaw at the extraction site, then 15 minutes off, to keep swelling down. Don’t be concerned if the area feels numb after the cold, the ice is doing its job. There’s no limit on how many days you can use an icepack, so just keep going if your mouth feels sore.
While you’re staying away from hard and crunchy foods, don’t be shy with soft food or liquids. Drink as much water as you want, but watch out for sugar-loaded drinks like soda. Hot or cold is fine, so feel free to load up on soup, mashed potatoes, ice cream, and yogurt.
If you were prescribed antibiotics or painkillers, make sure to finish the entire prescription. Medication courses are not designed randomly. Skipping out on antibiotics opens the door for infection, and powerful painkillers should not be kept around the house.
Start rinsing your mouth with a solution of 1 tsp. salt/8 oz water, 24 hours after your extraction. Continue this four times per day, including after eating, until the wound is fully healed. Simply rinse as you would with mouthwash and spit. During this time, make sure you keep up your tooth brushing routine – be careful around the wound, but otherwise brush as normal.
Get the oral care you need
Don’t let tooth extraction or oral surgery intimidate you. At District Cosmetic Dental, Dr. Alex will help you feel comfortable both before and after surgery. He specializes in a variety of complex dental procedures and makes compassionate care his top priority.
If you need a tooth extraction or have other dental issues, or you have questions about your oral health, give us a call or make an appointment online today.