Most of us will face a tooth extraction during our lifetime. Did you know that five million people in the US get wisdom teeth out every single year? That’s a lot of teeth, and a lot of recovery time afterward, usually lasting for a week or so.
Tooth extractions are also done for other reasons, such as severe tooth decay, but the recovery is generally the same in all cases. If you have an upcoming tooth extraction, you may be wondering how to best treat yourself after the procedure is done. Here are some tips to get you feeling at a hundred percent as soon as possible.
Get Some Rest
Tooth extraction is considered a form of oral surgery, and after any surgery, you’ll want some time to recover. Schedule your extraction right before a break or a weekend, so that you won’t have to immediately go to work after your appointment. If you can’t do that, schedule your appointment towards the end of the day, so that you aren’t back at the jobsite immediately after your procedure.
Be sure to avoid intense exercise or labor afterwards as well. Bending over will increase the blood flow to the extraction site and raise your blood pressure, which can cause bleeding. The same goes for sleep. You can elevate the head of your bed to keep the pressure and swelling down at night.
Avoid Smoking or Drinking Through Straws
Any type of suction can dislodge the blood clot that forms in your gum pocket, which removes all protection from your tooth socket and your nerves. You can even end up with a condition called dry socket, which is very painful and will require another trip to the dentist.
For this same reason, you should avoid doing too much rinsing and spitting while you heal.
Stick to Soft Foods
It should be obvious that foods such as nuts and seeds are a bad idea after a tooth extraction, as they can easily harm or become stuck in the surgical site. Stick to soft foods such as mashed potatoes, applesauce, and similar fare until you’re feeling better. Usually, you’ll need to adhere to such a diet for about a week, or however long your dentist instructs.
Use Cold Packs and Pain Relievers
Your dentist may prescribe pain medication after your extraction, which you can take as needed. You may also receive antibiotics, depending on your case.
Unless instructed otherwise by your healthcare providers, taking anti-inflammatory medications can also help with any discomfort that occurs after an extraction. If you’re dealing with swelling, which can last up to a week, using cold compresses can also reduce your symptoms. Just be careful to use cold or ice for only ten to fifteen minutes at a time and take breaks between applications.
Resume Gentle Brushing After Two Days. Usually, your dentist will instruct you not to brush or floss for one to two days after a tooth extraction. Once this time has passed, gently resume your normal dental routine.
Questions About Your Recovery? If you’re in the Smokey Point or Marysville, WA area, and have questions about your recovery or about tooth extractions in general, be sure to contact us with any questions you have. We’re here to help you have the smoothest procedures and recoveries possible.