Learning you need to get a tooth removed probably didn’t feel like great news, but it’s nothing to worry about. Tooth extractions are the most common surgical procedure across the country.
Plus, if you need to get a tooth out, we’re here at American Dental Clinic in San Diego, California. Not only does Emmanuel Aguilar, DMD, specialize in extractions, but he and our team also work closely with you to support you in your recovery period. We provide you with detailed postop instructions so you know how to take care of yourself — and keep your discomfort to a minimum — as you heal.
To help you get a feel for what to expect, here are a few general tips to help you recover from a tooth extraction.
Keep yourself comfortable
After tooth extraction, the biggest issues during recovery are usually pain and swelling.
To help keep these problems at bay so you can be as comfortable as possible, do the following:
- Take any medication Dr. Aguilar suggests or prescribes on the recommended schedule
- Bite down on a gauze pad to minimize bleeding
- Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes any time you feel discomfort
- Don’t lie flat; keep yourself propped up as you rest
- Finish the entire course of prescribed antibiotics (if applicable)
Our team talks through your medication plan with you. That might mean taking something we prescribe, an over-the-counter pain reliever, or both. We make sure you know what to take when to keep your discomfort to a minimum.
Clean your mouth carefully
For the first 24 hours, don’t do anything to clean the area. This prevents you from disturbing the blood clot, helping your body heal.
After 24 hours, rinse gently with either the cleaning solution we give you or a mixture of one-half teaspoon of salt and eight ounces of warm water. Complete a gentle rinse after every meal and snack. You can brush and floss the rest of your mouth, but avoid the extraction site.
Keep food soft
When you’re ready to eat, choose soft or liquid-based foods. Your goal is to avoid chewing as much as possible. Here are a few ideas:
- Boiled/baked/mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
Your appetite may be small during the first day after your extraction. Even if you’re not hungry, it’s important to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps strengthen your immunity against infections and promotes healing.
Protect your blood clot
To stop bleeding, your body needs to form a clot in your tooth socket. To keep that clot in place, avoid:
- Drinking through a straw
- Forceful rinsing or spitting
- Strenuous activity
Keeping gauze pressed to the area for the first day after your procedure can also help the blood clot form and stay where it should be.
Reach out if you have certain symptoms
You might have some discomfort in the first couple of days after your extraction, but your symptoms should gradually improve.
If you don’t feel like you’re healing or you experience any of the following symptoms, contact Dr. Aguilar:
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
If your pain seems to be getting worse, you could have dry socket. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help.
This guide should give you a good idea of what to expect after tooth extraction. To have your tooth removal performed by a specialist, call American Dental Clinic or book your appointment online today.