A tooth extraction should be the last resort after all attempts at restoring a tooth have failed. To avoid pain during extraction, the dentist performs the procedure under anesthesia, which may be in the form of topical application, an injection, or inhalation. However, once the effects of anesthesia wears off, it is possible for the patient to feel some pain or discomfort. This is usually not a reason for concern. A dose of a pain relief medicine will normally be quite effective. However, if the pain continues, or increases, it may better to consult the dentist.
Healing of Extraction Socket
- Let it Heal – The wound must be allowed to heal as fast as possible. Hence, strenuous activity should be avoided for the next twenty four hours or so. Otherwise, bleeding may start again due to accelerated blood circulation. Even vigorous rinsing of the mouth must be avoided for at least six hours after the bleeding from the wound has stopped. However, the mouth should be kept clean to prevent development of an infection, and a simple mouth soak may be suitable for this purpose.
- Heat Therapy – Applying heat to an inflamed region results in enhancement in the local blood supply, leading to swift healing and recovery. The day after tooth extraction has been performed, dissolve about a half teaspoon of ordinary table salt in a tumbler of warm water. Take in a mouthful of this warm mixture and let it rest gently over the socket from where the tooth has been removed. This will soothe the inflamed gums and promote healing.
- Don’t Touch the Extraction Socket – There will be a temptation to move your tongue over the empty socket. This can be harmful, and may re-initiate bleeding. It must be avoided as much as possible. Similarly, feeling the wound with a finger must also be avoided.
Instructions Regarding Tooth Cleaning
As a general rule, the rate of healing is directly proportional to the extent of oral hygiene maintenance. Cleaning of the teeth must continue as per normal practice, except that every possible attempt must be made to prevent damage to the extraction wound. The tooth brush can seriously damage the wound. For this purpose, a mouthwash can be used to keep the oral cavity clean while the oral wound heals.
After about twenty four hours, the surfaces around the sutures, and the sockets should be cleaned with a cotton wool bud soaked in corsodyl (contains chlorhexidine digluconate, an antibacterial agent).
It is possible that the patient will experience slight swelling around the site of extraction, which usually subsides gradually in a matter of days. However, you must see the doctor if the swelling persists, or signs of pus appear.
Instructions Regarding Diet
To prevent any harm to the healing extraction socket, a soft diet is recommended for some days after the procedure. The dentist will lay out a diet plan that is acceptable.
In Case of Bleeding
The socket from where a tooth has been extracted will bleed. It is necessary for the healing of the socket, but such bleeding should cease before the patient leaves the dentist’s surgery, or shortly after that. However, if you notice a persistent oozing of blood, or if deep red, jelly like clots keep forming in the mouth repeatedly, action should be taken.
If you are far away from the surgery center, two simple actions will most likely help. First of all, take a little rest if you are engaged in vigorous activity. This will reduce the internal pressure of blood flow and reduce or stop the oozing. Secondly, roll a handkerchief or tissue paper into a finger-like shape wide enough to cover the entire bleeding socket, and press it hard against the socket, or bite over the cloth. Keep it so for about twenty minutes, or more if necessary. The pressure should stop the bleeding. In a case where these two methods do not work, contact your dentist immediately.
Use of Analgesics after Dental Extraction
Dentists usually administer painkillers to patients immediately after extraction so that their patient does not feel pain after the effects of anesthesia wear off. After that, an analgesic agent may be used whenever there is pain, keeping in mind the maximum daily dose of the painkiller must not be exceeded.
With the above guidelines and proper care, you’re sure to have a quick and easy post-extraction experience. As with most wounds, time and your body’s natural defenses will take over. Rest assured that having a tooth pulled won’t be as bad as you may have imagined, especially with a dentist you trust.