There are many reasons as to why you may need to have a tooth extracted. From excessive decay to an impacted tooth, having a dental extraction done is never a pleasant experience. Still, by taking the necessary aftercare steps in the first 48 hours after your extraction, you can promote healing and reduce your risk of developing complications and side effects.
Control Bleeding With Gauze
Your most important task after your extraction will be getting the bleeding to stop, which will likely not occur until awhile after you've left the dentist's office. More than likely, your dentist will send you home with large amounts of gauze that he or she will instruct you to place in the socket of the extracted tooth and bite down on with steady pressure. Over time, this will allow a blood clot to form, which will stop the bleeding and promote healing.
Fill Painkiller Prescriptions Right Away
If you're given a prescription for a painkiller following your extraction, be sure to fill it as soon as possible after your appointment. You do not want to wait until your anesthetic wears off completely to have your prescription filled, as you'll likely be in serious pain by the time you're able to take it. Have pain medication on-hand and take as directed.
Avoid Activities That Could Dislodge Clots
Keeping that blood clot from becoming dislodged is also an important part of the healing process, so be sure to avoid activities that could cause your blood clot to become dislodged. This includes drinking out of a straw, flying on an airplane (changes in air pressure can be problematic), partaking in heavy exercise or contact sports, and eating/drinking excessively hot or cold foods/beverages.
Protect Yourself From Dry Socket
Dry socket is one of the most common complications resulting from poor aftercare following a dental extraction. Specifically, dry socket occurs when the jaw bone below the extraction site becomes exposed; this can be extremely painful. The best way to avoid this is to never smoke after a dental extraction while your body is healing as well as avoid consumption of alcohol.
These are just a few important aftercare tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your dental extraction. Above all else, be sure to follow your dentist's instructions and attend any follow-up appointments that are recommended after your extraction. This way, you can avoid complications like dry socket and other painful conditions.