Tooth Extraction Aftercare: 4 Things to Avoid for a Speedy Recovery

While tooth extraction is usually nothing to look forward to, it’s usually nothing to worry about either. They are the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States and may be the only option to treat teeth that have suffered severe damage, decay, or infection. That said, taking care of your mouth after an extraction is crucial to avoid complications.

Your dentist will go over basic aftercare with you after the procedure. But to ensure a fast and full recovery, here are some things to avoid after tooth extraction.

1. Disturbing the Extraction Site

A large blood clot will develop at the extraction site after your procedure. This is normal and is a sign that your mouth is starting to heal. Disturbing or dislodging this clot can slow your recovery time and leave you vulnerable to infection.

You especially want to avoid an infection or other complications along the gumline if you plan on having a tooth replacement. Any issues with the gum or jaw will need to be dealt with before your replacement can go ahead, adding a significant delay to your treatment schedule.

Patients should avoid excessive spitting or mouth rinsing. It can be difficult to resist the impulse as, while you’re recovering, you may feel like there’s something in your mouth that you want to spit out.

Many patients are tempted to touch the extraction site with their tongue or finger. Especially on the first night after tooth extraction when the region is most sore. But avoid giving in to that impulse.

2. Aggressive Brushing or Flossing

Oral hygiene is an important daily habit, and after mouth surgery, it can help prevent infection and promote healing. However, you must be careful when cleaning your mouth after tooth extraction.

Do not brush or floss the extraction site for at least 24 hours after surgery. Instead, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water after meals. This should keep the wound clean and reduce swelling.

Avoid using mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide. Although both are good antiseptics, they can irritate the wound and slow the healing process.

3. Drinking Through Straws

One condition to look out for after extraction is alveolar osteitis, better known as “dry socket”. This is a condition where the blood clot that protects the wound dislodges or falls apart, exposing the bone and nerves underneath.

Using a straw creates a vacuum effect in your mouth that can weaken the blood clot. Sucking on lozenges, bits of food, or ice cubes has the same effect.

4. Smoking and Drinking Alcohol or Caffeine

Smoking can irritate the wound, slow the healing process, and increase the risk of dry socket.

Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and anticoagulant. That means it stops blood from clotting and increases bleeding from wounds. Caffeine can have similar effects. Avoid drinking either following your surgery.

Beware These Things to Avoid After Tooth Extraction

While this is a routine procedure, every surgery carries a risk of complications. In particular, many patients underestimate the risks of recovering from minor surgeries. Being aware of these things to avoid after tooth extraction can help ensure a short and comfortable recovery.

Have you been advised that you need tooth extraction in Redlands, California? Contact Michelle Wang DDS to schedule an appointment with our talented and compassionate team.