There are several reasons a dentist may recommend a tooth extraction, including impacted wisdom teeth, advanced tooth decay that leaves a tooth unsalvageable, an orthodontic need to make room in the mouth, or other more complex dental issues. No matter the reason, most patients are nervous about getting teeth pulled, especially if it’s their first time.
Thanks to gentle sedation and improved extraction techniques, all you need to do is trust the dentist or oral surgeon doing the procedure, alert them of concerns and anxieties before the extraction and of any shooting pain during (if you choose to be awake). We know you’ll get through it with flying colors! The most important part of any tooth extraction is the aftercare. Be sure to follow all surgical instructions provided by your doctor and keep the following tips in mind:
- Have a trusted person drive you home post-extraction even if you weren’t fully sedated. You may feel nervous or lightheaded and it is safer to get a ride.
- Directly following the procedure, you will be instructed to bite down on gauze to stop the bleeding. Keep the gauze in place for at least 30 minutes and replace it with fresh gauze after 30 min if still bleeding. You may bleed minimally for up to 24 hours, but if bleeding seems excessive, be sure to call your doctor.
- Take your medication! If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics or painkillers, get your trusted person to make a stop at the pharmacy before you head home to rest. Once you have it, take it faithfully. This will minimize pain and keep you comfortable.
- Eat soft foods and avoid anything hard, sticky or crunchy for at least a week.
- No straws or smoking for 72 hours after surgery. Your mouth will thank you as this helps avoid disrupting the very important blood clot that needs to form in order for gums to heal.
These are all things to keep in mind that will help shorten recovery and minimize pain. If you’re facing a tooth extraction, make sure you talk in depth with your dentist and closely adhere to all post-procedure instructions and recommendations. Getting a tooth pulled may feel scary, but it isn’t so bad when you have the facts you need to feel at ease.