How to take care of a wound following a dental extraction (tooth removal)

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Having had a tooth removed, you’ve really only won half the battle. It is important to follow your dentist’s after care instructions to help minimize the risk of complications and to also aid a speedy recovery.

Here are some tips to help you feel better quicker!

  1. Expect some bleeding. You have a wound in your mouth and you shouldn’t worry if there’s a little oozing or weeping. If you are experiencing heavy and continuous bleeding, then roll up a clean piece of cotton gauze, a tea towel or tampon and place it over the wound. Apply firm pressure by biting or pushing down with your fingers-sustained pressure for 15-20 minutes will stop the majority of all bleeds. If it is still bleeding copiously after this, then you need to contact your 24 hour dentist or emergency dentist.

    control-bleeding-after-tooth-extraction
    Biting hard with cotton gauze can help stop dental bleeding
  2. Avoid hard foods, hot foods and drinks and rigorous rinsing of the mouth for 24 hours. All of these can allow the clot to dislodge, which in turn will lead to bleeding and potentially infections like dry socket.
  3. No smoking- be religious! Pack them away forever or five days as a minimum. It’s the most common cause for pain and infection following a dental extraction.

    no smoking after dental extraction
    No smoking after dental extraction
  4. Keep the area clean. Grandma’s favourite-2 or 3 spoons of salt mixed with a tumbler of warm water held in your mouth over the wound until the warm water goes cold. Do this 5 or 6 times a day, the day following the extraction, and continue for 5 to 6 days.
  5. A bit of swelling is to be expected- you’ve had a part of your body removed and it is part of the healing process. The swelling may increase slightly for the first 2-3 days and then subside quickly. Ice packs or a pack of frozen peas, can be applied to help. If you have an increasing swelling 3 days after the extraction, then contact your dentist for a review.

    ice pack to help with swelling
    An ice pack can help with swelling
  6. Again, some discomfort or pain is normal for the first 48 hours and it should respond well to painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol-avoid aspirin. If your pain is not reducing following the second day, it’s best to be reassessed or to contact an emergency dentist to check that there are no infections.
  7. Exercise- avoid any rigorous exercise for the next 2-3 days, especially if you have stitches. You can open the wound up or dislodge the clot-not worth the pain and your 6 pack won’t suffer in 2 days.
  8. Alcohol- avoid drinking for 24 hours following having a tooth removed. This can delay healing.
  9. Brushing-You still got to look after the rest of them, just avoid the extraction site.

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