Tooth extractions are a common treatment for a variety of conditions, including overcrowding, tooth decay, or a tooth injury. Many adolescents have their wisdom teeth extracted as a preventative measure to avoid dental and oral health issues. Whether your tooth extraction is preventative or therapeutic, you should follow a few simple rules to keep your gums healthy while they heal.
Follow your dentist’s instructions carefully. They may recommend that you wait until the first 24 hours have passed to begin using saltwater rinses. To make a saltwater rinse, mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt in about 8 ounces of warm water.
Using mouthwash can cause healing sockets to dry out, so stick to your salt water rinse after meals or right before bed. Your dentist can advise you on a safe frequency, but many advise 3 to 4 rinses a day.
Drinking out of a straw (as well as sucking drinks, soups, or candies) can dislodge the blood clot that forms over your gums as it heals. The purpose of the blood clot is to protect the exposed bone and nerves while new tissue develops. If the clot dissolves or dislodges, it can cause intense, radiating pain. Food can also get stuck in the socket resulting in discomfort and a higher risk of infection. So, sip gently after a tooth extraction.
You can continue eating somewhat normally after a tooth extraction, but your diet may be a bit more limited. Stick to foods that don’t require a great deal of chewing and that aren’t a threat to your exposed socket. Some foods that should be safe include:
- Cooked pasta
- Mashed potatoes
- Cottage cheese
Definitely avoid things like chips, popcorn, nuts, or spicy and acidic foods that can irritate the gums.
Your dentist can give you a more detailed timeline about when it will be safe to resume normal activity. However, the first two days after your surgery are important to your healing and recovery. Rest! When you increase your heart rate and strain your body, you increase the risk of negative health outcomes like increased bleeding.
Pain relievers and antibiotics may be among the prescribed medications after your surgery. If your dentist prescribed them, it’s best to take them as directed. The last thing you want is an infected extraction site that draws out your recovery and endangers the health of your gums.
Both smoking and alcohol can cause dry socket, but they can also inflame your gums and draw out your healing time. Your dentist may advise you to wait anywhere from 24 hours to five days after the extraction to indulge in either.
At 915 Smile Studio, we perform routine and emergency extractions. We know how stressful it can be to undergo a procedure like this, so we prioritize your comfort and peace of mind from the moment you walk in the door. After your extraction, we can talk next steps for restoring your smile and maintaining your dental health. Call 915-265-4821 to schedule your appointment.