While you may receive a tooth extraction for any number of reasons, the care of the extraction site following your procedure will be nearly identical for every situation. Please remember that even with simple tooth extractions, there is a risk of infection. This risk can be lessened with proper care. For more information, and to schedule your appointment with Dr. Victor J. Dongo, our dentist in Hialeah Gardens, Florida, please contact our office at (786) 709-9037.
Immediately following your tooth extraction:
- Keep pressure on the gauze pad placed over the surgical area by biting down. You can dampen the gauze with water if it begins to dry out. Maintain constant pressure for 45-60 minute intervals, repeating until the bleeding lessens. Change the gauze as needed.
- Keep your head elevated, and avoid physical activity as much as possible for a few days following your procedure.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water every 1-2 hours for 48 hours following your surgery. About 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water is the recommended solution.
- Do not use mouthwash containing alcohol.
- Brush as normal in the areas around the surgical site. Avoid sutures, and do not brush the surgical site itself.
- Avoid touching the wounded area in any way until it heals.
- Use ice packs to control swelling by placing them on facial areas near the extraction site.
- Take all prescribed medications as directed. If itching or swelling occurs, contact our practice or go to the nearest emergency room.
- Follow a soft diet, preferably one high in protein.
- Stay hydrated, but do not drink through a straw for 5-7 days.
- Do not smoke or use tobacco for at least 3-4 days.
Your sutures should fall out or dissolve within 3-14 days following extraction. If your sutures are non-resorbable, we will schedule a follow-up appointment to remove them. Your empty tooth socket will gradually fill in with bone over time.
You may experience several complications following your tooth extraction, including:
- Bleeding – some bleeding after your procedure is normal. If bleeding becomes excessive, try to control it by gently biting down on dampened gauze pads or moistened tea bags. If bleeding does not reduce after 48 hours, contact our practice.
- Bone Sequestra (or dead tooth fragments) – some patients have small, sharp tooth fragments that were unable to be completely removed during surgery. These will slowly work themselves through the gums as part of the natural healing process. This can be a little painful. If you notice any sharp fragments pocking through the surgery site, call our practice.
- Dry Socket – if your pain increases, or is throbbing or shooting up towards the ear instead of decreasing, it could be a sign of dry socket. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes irritated before healing is complete. It is not an infection, but does require a visit to our office. Contact us as soon as possible if you believe you have this problem.
- Lightheadedness – If you were fasting prior to your surgery, your blood sugar levels may be low. Until your body can catch up and process some sugars, remember to stand up slowly when getting up. Eat something soft and sugary, stay in a relaxed position, and reduce the elevation of your head. The lightheadedness should pass soon.
- Numbness – An extended feeling of numbness around the mouth is normal and may last for 10-12 hours following your surgery.
- Swelling – Swelling should subside almost entirely within 10 days of your procedure. Immediately following extraction, apply ice packs to the facial areas near the extraction site in 15 minute intervals. After 36 hours, ice will no longer be beneficial in reducing swelling, and moist heat should be used instead. Applying a warm, damp cloth to the sides of your face is often the best method.
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth – Occasionally, your chewing muscles and jaw joints will remain sore for 3-5 days following surgery. It should eventually subside. If it does not, contact our office.
If you have further questions about aftercare for tooth extractions, please contact our office.