Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the jaw bone. Extraction of teeth is the commonest treatment option patients resort to when they present with toothache especially in Ghana. They can’t think pass the pain except to plead for it to be taken out for them (tu ma me). Although we keep educating and informing people to seek routine dental check-up, I now understand that “maintenance” is a general mind-set issue and it affects every area of our lives. So until we gradually embrace a paradigm shift, we will keep granting your tooth extraction wishes.
Sometimes I worry that the verbal instructions passed on immediately after extraction of a tooth falls on deaf ears or the recall diminishes the further away you move from the hospital. Where I was trained, we had the instructions in written form on slips for the patient to carry along. But it’s not a common practice everywhere of course due to ‘maintenance’ and so most are left to rely on the verbal instructions. We are humans we have the tendency to forget.
It’s another Teethlicious Tuesday and I want to shed more light on post extraction instructions. You should bookmark this, and share with anyone you know as a reinforcement of what was already said to them at the dental clinic and to have an idea of what to do after you have had your tooth extracted.
Don’t keep changing the gauze and don’t chew on it. Just bite on it for the full 45 minutes and swallow saliva
Do not spit: this creates a suction effect and will induce more bleeding which we are trying to control.
Do not rinse your mouth: the blood clot that forms in the socket is an important part of the healing process, so be careful not to do anything that will dislodge it.
Take pain medication and antibiotics as prescribed before the numbness from the anaesthesia wears off. Avoid aspirin it may cause bleeding. If you are asthmatic avoid ibuprofen as it may worse your asthma.
Numbness feeling should wear off before you drink or chew. This will stop you from accidentally chewing your lips, cheeks and tongue. You may not be able to test hot foods which could result to burns.
Drink lots of fluids, soft diet and chew on opposite side
Don’t disturb the extraction site: don’t touch with your finger, don’t disturb the area with your tongue
Don’t suck on a straw: this air pressure difference creates a suction effect and may dislodge the blood clot from its socket.
Don’t blow your nose, if you need to sneeze, sneeze with your mouth open
Don’t brush your teeth
Don’t drink hot, carbonated or alcoholic drinks: they may dissolve the clot
Avoid smoking for at least 5 days after treatment. Smoking reduces the rate of healing and increase risk of infection
Avoid hot or spicy foods
Swelling may occur: If it’s a simple extraction you may notice very little or no swelling, but in difficult extractions & surgical extractions you may notice swelling. Place an ice pack over the outside of your face over the area where tooth was extracted to reduce swelling 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
Take it easy for the rest of the day.
Resume brushing of teeth. Just don’t be too aggressive
Warm salt mouth rinse (WSMW): Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass/cup of warm water. Take a sip, hold it in your mouth and spit out gently. The benefit is that it is isotonic so doesn’t irritate the wound. The salt water will help cleanse the area, removing food and other debris that has accumulated there and limit the chance of infection. Over enthusiastic rinsing can dislodge the clot and slow healing. Repeat 3 times daily for at least a week.
Avoid the use of commercial mouthwash or rinse. These products may irritate the extraction site
Continue your antibiotic and pain medications as prescribed
It is normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a tooth extraction, but see your dentist if bleeding doesn’t stop, pain or swelling increases beyond 3 days, if you react to the medication prescribed and if the socket becomes painful because of dislodged clot leaving the socket dry and empty.
The picture above shows what to expect in healing process if you follow simple post extraction instructions.
Thanks for reading, its #TeethliciousTuesday, Stay Gorgeous & Stay Professional.
Dr Oyaks is an oral health care blogger at Ghanahealthnest.com, a fully qualified practicing dental surgeon with a Ghanaian blood and a Nigerian mind. She has a passion for teaching and sharing oral health knowledge because it all starts in the mouth, Healthy mouth, Healthy body. Her life goal is to stay connected to the vine, stay gorgeous & stay professional. See more at www.DrOyaks.me