Permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but there are reasons why tooth extraction may be needed. Common reasons include:
- damaged tooth from trauma or decay
- crowded mouth; sometimes teeth are pulled to help properly align teeth in the mouth or to prepare for orthodontia
- infection; if tooth decay extends to the center of the tooth, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection
Home Care After Tooth Extraction
After a tooth is taken out of the gums, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket. This aids in healing, and special care should be taken until the mouth is healed. Children should be monitored closely when numb, and not allowed to bite their cheeks, lips or tongue. Special instructions include:
- Do not use a straw; the sucking action may loosen the blood clot and prevent proper healing.
- Do not rinse vigorously, smoke, drink alcohol, or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours.
- After 24 hours, rinse gently with a solution of 1/2 teaspoon salt with 8 oz. warm water. Allow the warm water to roll around and then fall out of your mouth.
- When lying down, prop head up with pillows to assist with stopping the bleeding.
- Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as it can increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding.
- Resume your normal brushing and flossing routine after 24 hours. Keeping the mouth fresh and clean will help speed healing. Avoid the extraction site until you feel comfortable.
How long will my mouth be numb?
The length of time your mouth is numb will vary depending on the type of anesthetic used. Usually the numbness will wear off in 8-12 hours. Sometimes swelling can affect the absorption of the anesthetic and can delay things, but by 24 hours all numbness should be gone.
Should I expect some bleeding?
There is minimal bleeding after tooth extraction, which will be controlled before you leave the office. Mild presence of blood is normal up to 24 hours after the extraction.
How should I manage pain and swelling, and how soon will they go away?
During the first 24 hours, use an ice pack on the area to assist with swelling. A frozen bag of peas or corn will also work well as an ice pack.
Pain medications should be taken as prescribed. Call the office if medication does not seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, it is important to take them for the indicated length of time, even if any symptoms have disappeared.
Swelling usually subsides in 48 – 72 hours. Ice packs should only be used for the first 24 hours of this time.
How soon can I resume normal activities and eating?
Drink lots of fluid and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable, usually by the third day. Relax for at least 24 hours, and limit activity for a day or two. After a few days, you will feel fine and you can resume your normal activities.
What kinds of soft foods are good for nutrition?
Some soft foods that provide nutrition and help with healing include:
- soup (lukewarm, not hot)
- scrambled eggs
- mashed potatoes
- ice cream
Please call the office if you have any questions or concerns. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, or continued swelling for more than three days, or reaction to the medication, call our office immediately.