After having a tooth pulled or any other dental surgery, there are a number of things you would want to do or to avoid doing to facilitate faster healing. It is important to keep in mind that the area will be tender for a while, and that a blood clot will form on the extraction site. The following should help with recovery:
Immediately After Having Your Tooth Pulled
Dental surgery uses local anesthesia and this will make your mouth, in particular your tongue, lips and cheek numb. You should therefore avoid drinking hot beverages immediately. You should also avoid rinsing your mouth for up to 12 hours. If you do so, this may remove the blood clot and may result in bleeding and pain.Swelling after having a tooth pulled is normal. You can reduce the swelling using an ice bag. Apply the ice bag to the affected area as soon as possible, and hold for as long as 10 minutes. Immediately the anesthesia wears off, you will experience pain at the extraction site. Therefore, you should also take pain relief medication right away. Simple over the counter painkillers like ibuprofen should do. But it is important to check with your dentist and to take them precisely as prescribed.
When at Home
After surgery, it is best to keep activity at a minimum. You should avoid exercise for 12 to 24 hours and get adequate rest, preferably with your head above the level of your feet. Avoid activities that require heavy lifting or bending. If possible keep your head up by sleeping on more than one pillow at night.
Brushing Your Teeth
You should take caution when brushing your teeth to avoid dislodging the clot. As much as you need to brush your teeth to keep the teeth and the gums clean and prevent infection, brush the extraction site gently. Do not spit forcefully.
Eating After Having A Tooth Pulled
Soft food and liquid diets are ideal after having a tooth pulled. To prevent irritation, avoid hot and spicy foods. As pressure could dislodge the clot, avoid sucking and drinking from straws. You should also avoid chewing on the area or chewing the cheeks. Do not prod the extraction site with your fingers or with your tongue. Keep away from smoking and drinking alcohol until the tooth heals. Alcohol could delay the healing process, while the pressure from smoking can dislodge the clot.
If the area bleeds, rinse the mouth with warm water and wipe the area with a clean gauze pad or handkerchief. With the gauze positioned on the extraction site, apply pressure to the socket by closing your jaws tightly together for about 30 minutes. During bleeding, blood mixes with saliva in the mouth, giving the impression of excessive blood. Because of this, you should change the gauze after about 30 minutes. Minor bleeding for the first day or two after having the tooth pulled is normal.
If the bleeding and pain is severe, especially 2 to 4 hours after having your tooth pulled, then you should consult your dentist. You should also see your dentist if you notice any prolonged numbing after surgery, by up to 6 hours, fever, nausea, vomiting or excessive pain.