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The most important first step once you have a tooth extraction is to take it easy for the rest of the day. Avoid eating hot food or drinks until the anesthetic wears off so that you do not burn or scald your mouth since you will not have the ability to feel pain until then.  Do not consume alcohol for at least 24 hours, since it may cause additional bleeding or delay the healing process.

Should I rinse my mouth out after a tooth extraction?

You should avoid the temptation to rinse out that area of your mouth for at least 24 hours to give the socket a chance to heal.  You will want to be careful not to damage the blood clot to prevent healing or cause infection.  It is important to keep your mouth clean after a tooth extraction. Be very careful as you brush around the area of the extraction site to avoid damage to the socket and blood clot.

What do I do if there is bleeding?

You should expect a minimal amount of bleeding on the first day or so. If you are concerned about the amount of blood, remember that your blood will mix with a larger amount of saliva which makes it look more dramatic than it is.

If there is bleeding, do not rinse out but apply pressure to the socket by placing and biting on a folded piece of clean cotton material for at least 15 minutes. Place the pad directly over the extraction site and replace the pad as needed.  If the bleeding has not stopped after about an hour contact your dentist.

What else can I do to help the healing process?

After the first 24 hours, use a salt-water mouthwash to help heal the socket. Use a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water to gently rinse the socket twice a day to help keep the area clean of food and debris. Keep this process up for a week or as long as your dentist recommends you do so.

 If I am in pain what medicine should I take, and are there any medications to avoid?

You may experience some tenderness in the area of the extraction for a few days, which may be alleviated with simple pain relief medicine.  Follow manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and frequency, and check with your dentist first.  Do not take aspirin since this medicine may cause your mouth to bleed.  If you continue to experience pain, it may be due to infection getting in the socket. This is called a dry socket and may be very painful.  You should see your dentist so they can dress the dry socket and prescribe antibiotics for the infection.

Dr. Melchers and his staff are here to address any of your health issues,including precautions to take after a tooth extraction. Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can best serve you and meet your dental care needs.