Sometimes a tooth needs to be removed due to decay, disease, trauma or other reasons. Having a tooth removed or pulled is called a tooth extraction.
The following are some general guidelines to help promote healing, prevent complications and make you more comfortable. As with any procedure, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Anesthetics: Before the extraction, you will be given an anesthetic to reduce your discomfort. Your mouth will remain numb for a few hours after the extraction. While your mouth is numb, you will need to be careful not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue. After the extraction, do not eat any foods that require chewing while your mouth is numb. The numbness should go away within a few hours. If it doesn’t, please contact us.
Bleeding: We may place a gauze pack on the extraction site to limit bleeding. This will also help to form a blood clot. Leave the gauze in place for 30 -45 minutes after leaving our office. Do not chew on the gauze. There may be some bleeding and oozing after the pack is removed. If so, take clean gauze and fold into a pad thick enough to bite on. Dampen the pad with clean, warm water and place it directly on the extraction site. Apply pressure by closing the teeth firmly over the pad. Maintain this pressure for about 30 minutes. If the gauze becomes soaked with blood, replace with a clean one. Do not suck on the extraction site or disturb it with your tongue. A small amount of blood may leak from the extraction site until a clot forms however, if heavy bleeding continues, please give us a call. (Keep in mind, a little bit of blood mixed with saliva can look like a lot of bleeding)
Care: The blood clot that will form in the tooth socket is an important part of the normal healing process. You should avoid doing things that may disturb the clot. Do not smoke. Do not rinse your mouth vigorously. Do not drink through a straw for at least 24 hours. These activities create suction in the mouth which could loosen the clot and delay healing. Avoid alcoholic beverages or mouthwash containing alcohol for 24 hours. Limit strenuous activity for 24 hours after the extraction
Sometimes the blood clot does not form in the first day or two after the extraction or it forms but breaks down. The result is called dry socket. This can be very painful. Please contact our office if this occurs.
Medication: If we have prescribed medication to control pain and inflammation or to prevent infection, use only as directed. If the pain medication prescribed does not seem to work for you, do not take more pills or take them more often than directed. Please give us a call so we can help.
Cleaning Your Mouth:Do not clean the teeth next to the healing tooth socket for the rest of the day. However, brush and floss your other teeth well and begin cleaning the teeth next to the healing tooth socket the next day. You can also brush your tongue. This will help get rid of the bad breath and unpleasant taste that are common after an extraction. The day after the extraction, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (half teaspoon salt in an 8oz. glass of warm water) after meals to keep food particles out of the extraction site. Try not to rinse your mouth vigorously (this may loosen the blood clot). If you have hypertension, discuss with us first whether you should rinse with salt water. Avoid using a mouthwash during this early healing period unless we advise you to do so.
Eating and Drinking: After the extraction, drink lots of liquids and eat soft foods. Avoid hot liquids and alcoholic beverages. Do not use a straw. You may begin eating solid foods the next day or as soon as you can chew comfortable. For the first few days try to chew food on the opposite side of the extraction site. When it feels comfortable, you should resume chewing on both sides.
Swelling and Pain: After a tooth is removed, you may have some discomfort and notice some swelling, this is normal. To help reduce swelling and pain, try applying an ice bag or cold, moist cloth to your face.
When to call us: 309-693-2310 If you have any of the following issues, call us immediately. If you cannot reach us, go to a hospital emergency room.
- Fever, nausea or vomiting
- Ongoing or severe pain, swelling or bleeding
- Pain that gets worse with time instead of better