Tooth Extractions 

Natural teeth are ideal for biting, chewing and maintaining mouth and jawbone structure, which is why a dentist’s first priority is to help restore, save and repair your natural teeth. However, sometimes a tooth extraction is unavoidable. 

What To Eat And Drink

The day of the surgery you should eat a liquid diet. Do not drink with a straw. For several days following surgery, eat a soft diet. Examples of soft foods may include: mashed potatoes, soups, pasta, eggs, custards. Be sure to drink lot of fluids: water, tea, coffee, milk, juice.

Oral Hygiene

The mouth should not be rinsed on the day of the surgery or bleeding may develop. On the day after surgery, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Rinse your mouth with this salt water solution for at least 5 days. Rinse in the morning, after each meal, and at bedtime. The day following surgery, you may brush your other teeth normally, but avoid the site of the surgery, as the area will be tender.

Smoking

Do not smoke for 3 days after surgery. Smoking will disrupt the formed blood clot and slow down the normal healing process.

Dry Sockets

A dry socket results when the blood clot is disturbed. Dry sockets are most common on lower molar (back) teeth, but can occur on any tooth. Dry sockets can be painful, so it is best to avoid them in the first place. To help prevent dry sockets, avoid the following behaviors for 3 to 5 days following surgery:

  • Forcefully spitting
  • Disturbing the area with your tongue or finger
  • Smoking or drinking through a straw
  • Drinking carbonated beverages (soda or beer)
  • Holding your nose when sneezing
  • Eating hard or chewy foods, especially foods such as chips or nuts that can break into small sharp pieces

If you develop a dry socket, contact the office, so a medicated dressing may be placed.

Information And Instructions After Oral Surgery

There are several conditions which may occur after oral surgery. The following list contains conditions that can considered normal:

  • The area operated on may swell.
  • The selling may become large.
  • You may develop a slight ear-ache.
  • You may have a sore throat.
  • Trismus (tightness) of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening the mouth
  • You may feel numbness about the corner of your mouth on the side the tooth was removed.
  • Your other teeth may ache. This is “sympathetic” pain, a temporary condition.
  • If the corners of your mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Keep your lips moist with a cream or ointment.
  • There will be a hole where the tooth was removed. The hole will gradually fill in with new tissue. Keep this area clean by rinsing with warm slt water ater meals and before bed. Do not rinse the day of the surgery. Start rinsing the day following surgery.
  • You may have a slight fever for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. If your fever continues to rise, contact the office.

What To Do After Surgery

Extraction wounds usually heal quickly and without complications if you take a few simple precautions. Resting and sleeping for several hours after surgery is necessary. This helps to reduce the bleeding and allows a clot to form in the area. Reduce your level of activity for several days after surgery to prevent a delay in your recuperation. If you regularly exercise vigorously, lay off for several days. Excessive bending and lifting should be avoided for several days.

Swelling

Swelling is to be expected. As soon as you get home, place ice on the affected area. Keeping the ice on the area for 20 minutes, then off for 10 minutes, works very well. Do this for up to 24 hours following the surgery. A Ziploc baggie with ice cubes serves nicely. Do not use ice on the area at any time after  24 hours post-surgery. This may slow the healing process. Take the anti-inflammatory medication (usually Ibuprofen) for 2 days following the surgery. If some swelling develops within the first 2 to 3 days, it usually takes about a week to resolve.

Bleeding

You should apply direct pressure on the surgical wound by biting on gauze for 2 hours. You will be given extra gauze so you may change the gauze periodically. Do not expectorate (spit) or suck on a straw during this time period. Some bleeding (oozing) is normal for up to 2 days following surgery. IF you notice that the bleeding is persisting, place a moist tea bag on the area and bite down as you would with the gauze. If you notice any complications with bleeding, contact the office.

Medications:

Be sure to get your prescriptions filled as soon as possible when you leave the office. Take the medications as directed. Your prescriptions will usually consist of the following:

  • An antibiotic— This is to help prevent post-operative infection. Make sure to take the medication until it is completely used up.
  • An anti-inflammatory— This is to help reduce swelling and pain. Take the medication for 2 days or longer.
  • An analgesic— This is to help with the pain that may persist even while using the anti-inflammatory medication. Use it only if necessary. Use of this medication may make you drowsy. Do not use alcohol while taking this medication.

If you develop a rash or experience any unusual side effects while using any of the medications, contact the office or my pager.

Anesthetics 

Before the extraction, you will be given an anesthetic to reduce your discomfort. Your mouth will remain numb for a few hours after the extraction. While your mouth is numb, you’ll want to be careful not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue. After the extraction, do not eat any foods that require chewing while your mouth is numb. The numbness should go away within a few hours. If it doesn’t, contact your dentist. 

Follow-Up

If you have sutures that require removal, your dentist will tell you when to return to the office.