Post-Op Instructions After Having a Tooth Extraction
Nobody wants to have a tooth extracted, but Dr. John D. Mecca, D.D.S. PC says that there are some things that patients can do to make the procedure itself more comfortable. Although proper anesthesia will eliminate any potential pain during the extraction itself, Dr. Mecca says that following certain post-procedure protocols will make the recovery process go more smoothly.
First and foremost, Dr. Mecca says that patients need to pay close attention to the instructions being given by their dentists. A dentist in New Hartford, New York, Dr. Mecca says that dentists should take the time to explicitly set out post-extraction instructions for their patients. During this conversation, the dentist should go over which foods and activities to avoid in the hours, days, and weeks following an tooth extraction procedure.
Once the patient has left the dentist’s office, it is up to him to follow those instructions. Although the explanations that most dentists give their patients regarding which foods to eat and which to avoid seem basic, failing to heed this advice can result in a recovery process that is lengthier than it needs to be.
In terms of the specific things that patients should remember, Dr. Mecca says that remembering to remove and replace gauze in the mouth following an extraction is very important. Bloody gauze should be exchanged for fresh, clean pieces – which will usually be supplied by the dentist’s office. Gauze should continue to be changed out periodically until it is clear that the bleeding has stopped.
During the first 24 hours after a tooth extraction, Dr. Mecca says that everything is geared towards not loosening the clot prematurely. Loosening the clot prematurely can lead to dry socket, which is an infection of the socket itself that causes significant pain and discomfort. Additionally, Dr. Mecca advises patients to stick to a soft diet for the first 24 hours and make sure to avoid heavy rinsing during that first day.
Once the 24-hour mark has passed, patients can begin rinsing their mouths out with warm salt water. Most people need to continue rinsing with this solution at least three or four times a day for a few days after the extraction procedure. After one week of rinsing, patients are usually ready to return to their normal activities as far as eating and chewing are concerned.
One activity that patients must avoid, however, is smoking. Smoking is a very big risk factor for dry socket. A patient who smokes while recovering from a tooth extraction has a significantly higher chance of developing dry socket than a patient who abstains.
According to Dr. Mecca, a person who develops dry socket will know it. Typical symptoms of dry socket include a very bad taste on the tongue or a bad mouth odor that seems to strike for no reason.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.