It is important to look after yourself after you have had a tooth extracted. As with any operation, the more you look after yourself, the faster the healing process and the more infection will be prevented.
- For the first 24 hours it is advised that you do not drink alcohol, eat hot food or disturb the clot (this will have formed in the space that your tooth used to be in). Do not smoke and avoid strenuous exercise for the rest of the day.
- Brush your teeth normally to keep your mouth clean, being careful around the region where the tooth was extracted.
- If you feel small pieces of bone working their way out of the socket – Don't worry, this is normal.
- Some swelling or discomfort in the first two to three days is also normal.
What to do if the bleeding does not stop
- Your dentist may have given you a small supply of gauze in case this happens. If not, clean cotton handkerchiefs will do, but not paper tissues.
- Keep sitting up and gently clear away any clots of blood around the socket with the gauze or handkerchief.
Occasionally after an extraction of a tooth, the blood clot in the socket can break down, leaving a painful empty hole in the gum. This is also known as 'dry socket'. If the socket becomes painful a day or two after the extraction, this is usually the reason. If this happens, you should go back to your dentist to have the wound cleaned and packed with a dressing; this will relieve the pain and reduce the risk of infection.
If you follow these instructions, your mouth should heal normally, without becoming infected. If you do have any problems, please contact the practice for advice.