Healing Process And Management Of A Tooth Extraction Site

Healing process and management of a tooth extraction site

Going through the procedure of a tooth extraction can be stressful. You may have to deal with your fear of the dental procedure itself as well as any discomfort during and after the dental extraction due to pressure, pain and swelling. There may be some inconvenience surrounding the post-extraction care period during which you are unable to enjoy as wide a variety of foods as you usually do and you must take certain precautions in order to let the extraction site heal properly. Apart from taking time off to rest and recover, you need to know what to expect after having a tooth removed and what to do regarding any possible issue that may come up.

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Initial period immediately following tooth extraction

Once the dental extraction is complete, the dentist will pack gauze over the extraction site and tell you to bite down on it to exert pressure on the area. You will be advised to keep the gauze in place for up to half an hour. This makes sure that bleeding from the extraction site is under control. It is normal to experience slight bleeding at intervals from the extraction site for a day or so after the procedure has been performed, but there should not be any profuse bleeding that keeps going on without stopping. You should inform your dentist beforehand about any conditions or medications that can prolong bleeding, so that proper steps can be taken in order to prevent excessive blood loss. You should also inform your dentist if you experience significant bleeding from the extraction site once you go home after the procedure has been completed.

Precautionary period for safety measures after tooth extraction

After you have had your tooth removed, there is a period of 2-5 days where you have to be extra careful in order to avoid dislodging the blood clot that forms in the space previously occupied by the tooth. While your dentist will give you precautions specific to your particular case, some general guidelines to keep in mind are:

  • For 24 hours up to 3 days, avoid performing any action that will cause a pressure change in your mouth that can dislodge the blood clot at the extraction site. This includes spitting, blowing, or sucking on a straw. Generally, the first 24 hours after a dental extraction are the most critical when it comes to these precautions. If you are a smoker, try to avoid smoking during this time period, as it counts as one of the activities that can cause a pressure change in the mouth and dislodge the blood clot before it heals completely. At the very least, reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke per day.
  • Do not eat or drink anything too hot for 24 hours. Drink your hot beverages cooled to room temperature.
  • Avoid chewing food from the side of the mouth where the extraction was carried out. It is regular dental procedure to carry out dental extractions from only one side of the mouth at a time, so that the patient can chew from the other side of the mouth during meals.
  • Choose soft foods to eat that are easy to chew and do not have hard particles or granules that can get stuck in the extraction site during the healing process.
  • While it can be tempting to keep checking the extraction site with your tongue or finger to see how the healing is coming along, or to see how it feels, you should avoid doing this, as this can dislodge the blood clot before the extraction site heals.
  • Remember to brush your teeth as usual, but you do not need to apply the toothbrush bristles to the extraction site, as there is no longer any tooth in need of cleaning present in that area. You may brush over the area out of habit. You need to avoid doing this, as it can disturb the blood clot.
  • After 24 hours have passed, use a homemade salt water rinse by dissolving some salt in a glass of lukewarm water and rinsing out your mouth without using too much force. You need to remove food particles from your mouth and reduce bacterial action through the use of this mouthwash, but without disturbing the extraction site.
  • If your extraction procedure involved the placement of sutures that must be removed by your dentist, remember to visit your dentist after the allotted time period to have the sutures removed on time.

Physical presentation of an extraction site during the healing period

The extraction site will appear swollen, and may change in shape and color as time progresses. While you will be prescribed pain medication to manage the pain and swelling that occurs after a dental extraction, you may still feel a certain soreness in the area of the extraction site. This is normal, and it will go away on its own after a few days.

Occurrence of dry socket after tooth extraction and its management

If you feel an intense pain at the site of tooth extraction 72 hours after the procedure was performed, it may be that you are suffering from dry socket. Dry socket is when the blood clot is dislodged from the extraction site and the underlying nerves and bone are exposed. This causes significant pain. If this happens, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible, who will clean out the area, apply a soothing medication as well as gauze, and possibly prescribe pain medication in order to manage the pain. The dry socket healing period can take many days and last up to several weeks.

Importance of post extraction care

You can avoid dry socket and help the healing process by carrying out the post extraction guidelines outlined by your dentist. Ask for the guidelines in written form, as this will help you to remember them and act on them. Monitor your healing visually as well as simply through the way the extraction site feels to you. Natural resolution of soreness and swelling in the area indicates that the healing process is proceeding normally. If bleeding or pain persists, make sure to consult your dentist.

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