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What To Expect After Tooth Extraction

Immediately following your surgery:

Take your pain medication as directed. Many times this will be over the counter ibuprofen and Tylenol, as studies show this is the most effective regimen. You can take 400mg ibuprofen and 500mg Tylenol every 4 hours. Your numbness will wear off in 1-3 hours- try to get started on pain medication before this happens.

Avoid the following for at least 48 Hours:

  • Smoking- causes delayed healing and dry socket
  • Carbonated beverages and alcohol
  • Vigorous rinsing or spitting
  • Drinking from a straw
  • Strenuous activities- this can raise blood pressure and increase bleeding
  • Eat a diet composed of softer foods for at least the first 2 days
  • Avoid brushing the area of the surgery for 3 days

What to expect after your tooth extraction:

Bleeding: Some bleeding is normal. Depending on the difficulty of the extraction, you may experience blood in your mouth for a few days. You should keep biting down on gauze for at least an hour after the extraction. Most of the time a little blood mixes with saliva and appears much worse than it really is. If you feel like you need to do something to address your bleeding, you can try biting down on some more gauze or a tea bag.

Pain: Some discomfort is to be expected- you just had a tooth removed from your jaw! Sometimes the discomfort will only last a couple days, but in extractions that were particularly difficult it can last much longer. Sometimes prescription for pain medication will be given to help in the management of your pain, but as said above studies show the ibuprofen/ Tylenol combination to be just as effective. Just be careful not to exceed the maximum dose of pain medication.

Swelling: you may experience some swelling, and possibly even some bruising- especially if you had to have your tooth surgically removed. This will resolve over several days, and if necessary can be managed by applying an ice bag for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. Infections of the post op site are rare, but if you have drainage of pus or a fever, that may indicate you are experiencing an infection.

Dry socket, sutures and the benefits of dental hygiene

A dry socket is one of the more common complications after a tooth extraction. This occurs when the blood clot is lost from the socket and the bony walls of the socket become exposed. This can be very painful and result in delayed healing. There is no way to predict who will get a dry socket, but they more often occur after the extraction of lower wisdom teeth, and if you smoke. Most will show up 4-5 days following an extraction. By this time pain is usually starting to improve, but a sudden increase in severity of pain, along with a foul odor and taste, might indicate a dry socket.

If your extraction required sutures, we most likely used dissolvable sutures. Most of the dissolvable type sutures we use will dissolve in 1-2 weeks, but that can vary depending on the person.

Lastly, Harvard medical studies have indicated that keeping a full set of healthy teeth can add an average of 7 years to your life. If you would like to look at the options for replacing your missing tooth or teeth, we as dental professionals think this is quite important and will be happy to discuss this with you. Thank you for choosing us for your dental care.

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