We tend to think of a tooth extraction as bad news; it´s usually the dentist´s last resort, after trying to repair a damaged tooth or combat an infection. I´m not going to lie, tooth extractions are uncomfortable, and at times, painful. Fortunately, we can avoid some of the worst side-effects of an extraction with a little planning and a good aftercare.
Things to do before a tooth extraction
When you set an appointment with a dentist at dental solutions, tell them of any condition you currently have that makes you liable to infections, for example:
- Impaired immune system (hereditary condition, HIV)
- Liver disease
- Artificial prosthetics (knee or hip replacement, heart valves)
- History of bacterial endocarditis
It´s also wise to make a list of every medication you are taking at present time, or of any medication you have allergies to; the dentist needs to know what medications are safe for you to help with your aftercare.
It´s a good idea to stock up on ibuprofen (or any other pain relievers) as well as any medication your dentist can prescribe before the procedure. The last thing you want during the first day (or couple of days depending on your pain tolerance) is to step out of your house to drive to a drugstore.
What to do after a tooth extraction
After the procedure is done, the dentist will place gauze in the tooth socket and you will be asked to bite it down to reduce the bleeding. The first couple of hours you might feel numb depending on your tolerance to anesthetics, a little groggy; ask someone to drive you home.
- Keep biting the gauze for the first few hours, you should do it until a clot forms.
- For the first 24 hours avoid, drinking from a straw, rinsing, or spitting forcibly; in other words, avoid excessive force
- Be very careful when you floss or brush, in fact, some dentist even recommend avoiding the extraction area for the first couple of days.
- Take your medicine
- Try to not lay down, instead use pillows to keep your head straight, this will help with the bleeding
- Only eat or drink food expressively recommended by the dentist.
- Apply ice to the afflicted area for 10 minutes every hour or so.
Some swelling and bleeding is expected, but if you notice acute pain, a lot of bleeding (which doesn´t stop after a few minutes) or a purplish color near the extracted area, contact your dentist inmediatly.