How to Recover After a Tooth Extraction

Tips For Taking Care of Yourself After Getting a Tooth Pulled

There are plenty of reasons someone might have a tooth pulled. From pre-orthodontic care to decaying teeth and emergencies, tooth extractions are a common procedure.

These are easy and painless thanks to sedation dentistry, but the hours following an extraction are when the real work takes place.

As a patient, your recovery after a tooth extraction is in your hands. We’ve included a list of important steps to follow below.

How the Healing Process Works

When a tooth is pulled, the gums left uncovered will bleed. In order to stop the bleeding, you will need to take steps to form a blood clot in the empty socket. This will allow bone and gum tissue to grow over the socket, and allow your mouth to restore itself to a normal state.

What To Do Following a Tooth Extraction

Keep Your Gauze In

When your appointment is complete, your mouth will be numb and you’ll have gauze around the area where the tooth was pulled. As you regain feeling, you might think you don’t need the gauze anymore. In reality, you’ll need to keep it in for as long as possible. Without consistent pressure from the gauze, the socket won’t close and you won’t heal. We recommend replacing your gauze every 1-3 hours, depending on how badly they are soaked.

Avoid Physical Exercise

You may feel too numb to realize it, but your mouth becomes extremely sensitive following a tooth extraction. For that reason, any harsh movement can sabotage your success as you try to form a blood clot. It’s recommended that you avoid intense exercise or rapid head movement for 48 hours following your appointment.

Rinse With Warm Saltwater

It’s normal to want to relieve your mouth from the taste of drying blood. However, you have to be careful when rinsing with water. We recommend waiting a full day before rinsing, and when you do, use salt water to keep your socket clean. Do not suck or use a straw, as that can loosen your blood clot.

Rest With Multiple Pillows

You need to prioritize rest, but it doesn’t always feel easy following a dental procedure – especially one like a tooth extraction. Keeping your head elevated can lighten your load of pain and keep your clot in a position that allows it to heal.

Avoid Certain Mouth Movements

Resist the urge to spit, suck from a straw, or make similar movements with your mouth. These can sabotage the development of your blood clot, which is essential to the healing process. Instead of doing these to relieve the taste of blood, rinse gently with lukewarm saltwater.

Other Questions You Might Have

What Foods Should I Eat After My Tooth Extraction?

For 1-2 days following your tooth extraction, you should stick to liquids and soft foods that don’t have a strong hot or cold temperature. Foods like yogurt, pudding, and applesauce are good choices.

What Foods Should I Avoid After My Tooth Extraction?

You should avoid any food that requires using your teeth or making strong mouth movements. Foods that are crunchy or have a strong temperature are not recommended. You should also avoid drinking from a straw as well.

How Should I Floss and Brush After My Extraction?

After your tooth extraction, you can still brush the rest of your mouth normally. However, you’ll want to take a particularly delicate approach to your brushing habits as your socket heals.

The teeth around the space left behind should be left alone for a day or two. Instead of brushing, you may choose to rinse with lukewarm saltwater – this won’t clean your mouth nearly as well as brushing would, but it is a safer alternative in this case.

After two days have passed, brush very gently, avoiding the healing gums. You should be able to brush and floss normally again after about a week.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

Full recovery can take up to a week. Bleeding should usually stop 2-3 days following the appointment, and this period is usually where most of the healing takes place. Pain should not last longer than the weeks following your appointment in most cases – if it does, contact your dentist immediately.

Healing after a tooth extraction might seem slow and difficult. By taking caution and following your dentist’s instructions, you’ll allow your mouth to heal and slowly regain your ability to eat the food you want, brush normally, and get the taste of blood out of your mouth for good.

At Blue Haven Dental, our team of experienced professionals takes a patient-care approach to our dental services. Whether you come in for an extraction or one of our other services, we’ll prioritize your comfort and ensure that you get great results.