If one of your teeth has become deeply decayed, fractured, or otherwise compromised and cannot be salvaged through restorative treatments, your dentist may recommend tooth extraction. This procedure is also sometimes performed to prevent overcrowding. While no one wants to hear that they need a tooth removed, your dentist will only recommend this option when it’s in your absolute best interest. As you recover from the procedure, here are a few things you can do to optimize your comfort and dental health.
5 Tips for Recovering After a Tooth Extraction
1. Use a Cold Compress
You may experience some swelling after your tooth is removed. In addition to minimizing this symptom, applying a cold compress can also alleviate discomfort by numbing the area. Use cold therapy for periods of 15 minutes, with 15-minute breaks in between, for 24 hours after the procedure.
2. Choose Soft Foods
By avoiding foods that require you to chew, you’ll allow blood clots to form, which are integral to the healing process. Be sure to have foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, and ice cream or sorbet on hand to keep you satiated after the procedure.
3. Take Pain Relievers
Depending on the nature of the extraction, your dentist may prescribe painkillers or recommend over-the-counter medications to minimize discomfort. Prescription medications are often reserved for extractions of impacted teeth or those below the gum line. Follow your dentist’s recommendations precisely when taking pain medications.
4. Limit Your Activity Level
Physical activity should be avoided for at least two days after tooth extraction, as it could cause bleeding. This time frame might be longer if your teeth were impacted. Follow your oral care professionals’ instructions for exercise, and give yourself plenty of rest to heal.
5. Maintain Oral Hygiene
Avoid rinsing and spitting for at least 24 hours after the procedure. After that, consider gently rinsing with salt water (if your dentist has approved it). You should also continue to brush and floss to keep bacteria and food particles at bay, being extra gentle around the extraction site.
If you have a dental issue warranting a tooth extraction or any other oral hygiene concerns, turn to the office of Susan Kleier, DMD. As a trusted family dentist in Lexington, KY, Dr. Kleier offers a broad range of restorative treatments, in addition to preventive dentistry for patients of all ages. Explore her full list of services online or call (859) 225-1188 to schedule an appointment.