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Dos And Don'ts Of Recovering After Tooth Extraction

Whether you've just had a tooth extracted or will have one extracted in the near future, it's important that you know how to properly care for the wound in the hours and days after the procedure. Otherwise, you could end up facing a nasty bacterial infection, excessive bleeding, or other issues. By being aware of both what to do and what not to do, however, you should be in great shape and mostly recovered within the first week.

DO Encourage Blood Clotting

When your tooth is initially pulled, there's going to be a lot of blood; there's simply no better way to put it. Immediately after the tooth is extracted, your dentist will place a piece of gauze over the tooth and ask you to bite down on it. This is done to help increase pressure to the wound, which encourages blood clotting to stop the bleeding. Beyond keeping the gauze in your mouth, there are some other steps you can take to encourage clotting, such as:

  • avoiding strenuous work or exercise
  • lying down with your head elevated
  • avoiding air pressure differences
  • using a dampened tea bag instead of gauze

DO Resume Hygiene Habits 

Your dentist should let you know exactly how long you'll need to wait before you resume your regular dental hygiene routine (brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, etc.). In most cases, however, you'll need to wait at least a day to brush around the area where your tooth was extracted. If you brush around it too soon, you risk dislodging the blood clot. Furthermore, keep in mind that you may need to stay away from using mouthwash (especially mouthwash with alcohol in it) for several days, as the harsh chemicals in them could otherwise irritate the extraction site.

DON'T Smoke

Finally, if you're a smoker, do your best to avoid smoking for at least the first day or two after your tooth extraction. Not only does smoking create suction in your mouth, which can result in the dislodging of the blood clot, but the smoke can also irritate the extraction site and lead to complications, such as infection. Yes, it may be difficult to go a couple of days without smoking, but it will be more than worth it when you don't rack up additional dental bills from an infection or other complication. Plus, by not smoking, you'll promote your body to heal more quickly in the process.

For more information, see a dentist like Fayetteville Family Dentistry to find out about getting a tooth extracted and how to heal quickly afterwards.