How to Care for the Mouth After Having a Tooth Pulled

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There are various reasons to have a tooth pulled. Tooth extractions correct crowded wisdom teeth and relieve the pain of a stubborn tooth infection. Sedatives, such as nitrous oxide gas and Valium, help to reduce the anxiety that you may feel about having a tooth pulled. It is important to properly care for the extraction site after the procedure to avoid infection.

Things You'll Need

  • Advil
  • Tylenol
  • Ice pack
  • Soft towel
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Toothbrush

Stay in your dentist’s office for a short time immediately following the extraction procedure. If the extraction didn't require stitches, sit still for about 10 minutes. For extractions that require stitches, it is important to rest for at least 30 minutes. This is to prevent excessive bleeding of the extraction site.

Take over-the-counter medications, such as Advil or Tylenol, for any pain that you may experience. If the pain is too intense, contact your dentist and ask for a prescription pain reliever.

Wrap a small ice pack in a soft towel and press it against your jaw. Leave the ice pack on your jaw for about 20 minutes. This prevents swelling and helps ease pain. If you still feel pain, you can repeat this process, but wait 20 minutes in between each session.

Make a saltwater solution by mixing 1 tsp. of salt with 1 cup of warm water. Use this solution to gently rinse your mouth at least three times a day. You should also rinse with saltwater after every meal. Doing this will keep food out of the hole where your tooth was and ward off infection.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, following your normal routine. Avoid brushing directly on the extraction site, because that can cause the blood clot that protects it to come loose.

Tips & Warnings

  • Drink plenty of fluids and limit your diet to soft foods for the first 24 hours after the tooth extraction.
  • Keep yourself calm for the first few days after the extraction. By doing so, you will keep your blood pressure low, which will reduce bleeding and speed the healing process.
  • Avoid cigarettes, chewing tobacco, alcohol and hot, spicy foods for the first 24 hours after the extraction.
  • Look for symptoms of a dry socket, which is when the blood clot that was covered the empty socket comes loose and exposes bone and nerves, Houston dentist Dr. Minh Nguyen warns. Call your dentist if you experience severe, constant pain accompanied by an earache and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

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