Aftercare Tips for a Tooth Extraction

Most dentists do everything they can to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible. But in some cases, a tooth extraction in Bethesda, MD, may be what’s best for your continued oral health. If a tooth is greatly fractured or infected, restoration work may not be able to save it. And leaving an unhealthy tooth in your mouth could cause the damage to spread. If you do require a tooth extraction, it’s crucial that you follow your dentist’s aftercare tips to prevent damage or infection.

A tooth extraction in Bethesda, MD, can help keep your smile healthy

How to Care For a Tooth Extraction Site

Getting a tooth extracted can be anxiety-producing, especially if the procedure is to remove infection or disease. However, removing an unhealthy tooth can often lead to improved oral health. As long as you take care of the extraction site, you can keep your gums healthy for whatever restoration work may come next.

Care Tips Immediately After a Tooth Extraction in Bethesda, MD

The first few hours after extraction are some of the most vital. While the initial numbness of the procedure persists, your dentist will likely recommend not eating or drinking anything for a while to prevent accidentally biting your cheek or tongue. 

Pulling a tooth out leaves behind a socket in your gums, which your dentist will fill with a cotton gauze. It’s crucial that you leave the gauze in the socket for however long your dentist recommends (typically between 30 minutes and an hour). This helps your socket form a blood clot, which can help keep your gums properly moistened and protected from infection.

Pain and swelling of the extraction site are common. You can hold ice to your jaw to help reduce the swelling. Your dentist will either prescribe or recommend an over-the-counter pain medication for the first few days after an extraction.

Continuing Care of an Extraction

An extraction site can take a few days to heal properly. You need to work hard to ensure it’s taken care of. While your extraction site is healing, it’s crucial that you continue proper oral hygiene care to keep your teeth and gums healthy. While you shouldn’t brush over the extraction site, you can gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to help keep the area clean. 

It’s also important to not smoke or drink through a straw, especially during the first 24 hours after an extraction. Any kind of sucking motion or rush of liquid can dislodge the blood clot. This increases your risk of a dry socket. The blood clot is a crucial healing tactic that protects your socket and helps provide additional structure to your jaw.

What to do After an Extraction

Leaving a tooth missing from your mouth for too long can lead to further complications. For example, the uneven pressure in your bite can cause jaw pain. To help protect your mouth, you’ll want to schedule a bone graft appointment with your dentist as soon as possible after the extraction site is healed. A bone graft helps support your jaw and neighboring teeth and is often the first step in further reconstruction work.

At Bethesda Family Smiles, we’re dedicated to preserving your natural teeth whenever possible. But if your tooth needs to be extracted, we can do so right from the comfort of our Bethesda office. If you’re having trouble with a tooth or need reconstruction after an extraction, give us a call at 301.500.2205 to discuss your treatment options.