It is most likely that the recovery of a tooth extraction will only take a couple of days, but there are some instructions that will lower the risk for post-operative issues (like the so-called Dry Socket) and may help on the road to recovery.
Always follow the instructions of your dentist to avoid slight or even serious problems, so: Be a good patient and pay attention to your dentist.
Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts for your after-care process:
- Bite down hard on the moist cotton gauze the dentist placed over the extraction wound for 30-45 minutes to support a solid blood clot to form. At home a wet tea bag can serve as a replacement. If it keeps bleeding contact the dentist.
- While the mouth is still numb because of the local anaesthesia, be very careful not to bite or burn the lip, the inside of your cheeks or your tongue.
- Do not touch the wound with the fingers to not infect the wound with bacteria that might be on your hands.
- Don’t rub the wound with the tongue or suck on the tooth socket, this may release the clot of blood.
- Try to relax after the extraction. Lie down, but put a pillow under the head, lying flat may extend the bleeding.
- Use an ice pack on the outside of your cheek in the area of the extraction for the first 24 hours to keep the swelling at a minimum. Some patients find it pleasant to melt an ice cube in the mouth to cool the inside as well.
Most important: do not smoke or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after the procedure. Nicotine can break down the blood clot and cause a wound healing disorder like the painful “Dry Socket”, while consuming alcohol will dilute your blood and hence might increase the chance of bleeding. Even if you follow all advices, problems might still occur. Never hesitate to contact your dentist if you encounter too much bleeding or pain.