What to do—and what not to do—after a dental extraction
A dental extraction consists in the removal of one or several teeth. While it’s always recommended to try to preserve a patient’s natural teeth, in some situations an extraction is the suggested treatment.
There are a variety of reasons a tooth extraction may be performed. It is important that you follow your dentist’s postoperative instructions, as failure to do so can delay the healing process.
In the days following an extraction, you may experience some discomfort, as well as difficulty opening your mouth. Some swelling in the area is normal for 2-3 days after the extraction; it will gradually go down.
The main objective after an extraction is to avoid prolonged bleeding or infection. Avoid taking any medications that act as blood thinners, such as aspirin. After the procedure, a blood clot will form over the extraction site. Avoid any sudden movements that could dislodge the clot.
For this reason, you should brush very gently while avoiding the extraction site for the first day, avoid smoking, and rinse your mouth gently (do not spit). Do not use commercial mouthwashes, most of which contain alcohol.
If the bleeding persists, apply substantial pressure for 20 minutes with a double layer of gauze. If you are still bleeding after this, you can bite down on a moist teabag.
At the first sign of a complication or problem, contact your dental professional, as he or she will be able to give you sound advice.