There are many reasons why you may need to have your teeth pulled. Perhaps you’re having your wisdom teeth extracted, or maybe you have crowded teeth. You may even have severe damage or decay. Regardless of the reason for your tooth extraction, having a quick and safe recovery is always a top priority. We want to make sure you avoid any painful swelling, bleeding, or dry sockets. To ensure you heal quickly and with minimal discomfort, follow these simple steps.
Have a friend or relative bring you home.
The first step in your recovery is getting home safely from the office after your procedure. Please remember to bring a friend or relative who can drive you home, as you shouldn’t operate any machinery or appliances for the rest of the day. They should also be able to help you sit up and move around immediately after the procedure. Once you’re home, you’ll want to avoid talking or any activity for the next 24 hours. Take this time to rest and recuperate.
Follow your after-care instructions carefully (especially in the first hour!).
When you arrive at home, you need to make sure you keep the gauze placed firmly over the extraction sites. Do not remove them within the first hour if you can, though you may need to swap them out before if heavy bleeding persists. After the first hour, you can place new gauze on the site for another 30 minutes to an hour and continue to apply firm but gentle pressure. During this time, also be certain to follow your dentist’s instructions regarding your pain medication carefully, as this will greatly ease your discomfort during this period.
Try using a tea bag to control heavier bleeding.
If you notice that the extraction site continues to bleed a bit, don’t worry. This is completely normal. You can apply more gauze to the site for 30-60 minutes (be sure to apply firm pressure). If it persists, try to apply a moistened tea bag to the site. Soak the tea bag in hot water, wring it dry, wrap it in a thin layer of moist gauze, and apply it for another 20-30 minutes. If the site continues to bleed heavily after this, be sure to call your dentist at TruBlu Dentistry.
Treat the extraction site very carefully for the first three days.
The first few days are vital to the healing process, as this is when your blood clot forms over the extraction point. For this reason, you’ll want to avoid touching the site after the bleeding stops, meaning you’ll even need to skip cleaning your teeth for the first day. For the first three days, you’ll also have to avoid any activities that can impact the extraction site—including drinking from a straw, smoking cigarettes, whistling, or even playing a wind instrument. Otherwise, you might risk dislodging the blood clot and exposing the nerve endings, a painful condition known as dry socket.
You can expect a bit of swelling around your mouth and cheeks after your surgery. While medications will assist with this, you can also hold a bag of ice to your check around the surgical site. Try holding it 20 minutes on-20 minutes off for the first two days of your recovery. Then try swapping heat and cold to the area. This should reduce the swelling over time.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Staying healthy is critical for the healing process, so it is important to get your nutrients during this time. During the first two days (and once the numbness of the anesthetic has dissipated), you’ll need to stick to liquid foods. Try eating pureed foods, soups, yogurt, and liquid meal replacements. We wouldn’t recommend eating hot foods or any foods that could get lodged in the surgical site (such as seeds, popcorn, etc.).
By following these tips, you should enjoy a very speedy recovery. Of course, if any issues arise—such as increased swelling, bleeding, or fever—be sure to call TruBlu Dentistry with offices in Burbank, Chicago, and Hegewisch. We’ll advise you on the best ways to proceed and invite you back to our office if necessary.