How you are advised to look after your socket when you have had an tooth extraction
may vary slightly from practice to practice and country to country, but the essence remains the same…
Below is a combination from various sources of the best and most common advice aimed at obtaining a good blood clot, preventing damage and infection and creating the speediest recovery possible.
If your lip is numb be careful not to bite it. The anaesthetic will take a few hours to wear off, during this time, be careful and take it really easy. You will not be able tell temperature, so- ‘NO HOT’
foods or liquids today (only lukewarm) and the control of your mouth when eating and drinking will, as you know be significantly effected until the anaesthetic has fully worn off. If you are unsure of the temperature, test it with a finger. If you are in public, you may find you are dribbling or spilling your drink without knowing... you have been warned.
Avoid physical exercise or anything that raises your blood pressure for at least 24 hours. We are trying to get a nice clot to form and this can burst the clot and start the socket bleeding. The more extensive and difficult the extraction, the more you will need to rest -(luckily for us, the more you will want to…) so go home and put your feet up. Plan time off work, your dentist can advise you if this is likely to be needed. If work involves 'manual labour' or 'exertion' of some sort, it is best to take the rest of the day off.
No alcohol should be consumed on the day of your extraction either before or after the extraction procedure
, as this will make you prone to bleeding. Alcohol causes your blood vessels to open up (dilate), so if you are planning a big night out ,or celebration make sure you take this into account.
Sleep or rest with your head raised and a towel on your pillow as some blood in your saliva is common. Lying down will make you more likely to bleed.
Eat a soft diet for a couple of days and chew on the other side of your mouth where possible.
- Avoid sucking through a straw
The pressure inside your mouth can dislodge the blood clot or start it bleeding.
- Do not rinse your mouth today
This will wash away the top layer of blood and start the socket bleeding again. You can drink, that is fine but don’t purposefully swill over the socket we want a good clot to form and stay in place.
For at least 3 days after your procedure and up to a week if you can. Do what is necessary- patches etc. to get you through this time. You must tone it down as much as possible, as smoking is the main cause of getting a painful dry socket and it may cause delayed healing, wound breakdown, and leave you prone to infection.
If the socket bleeds heavily, place a gauze pack (this should be provided by your dentist, but is also available from your pharmacy), or if you run out, a clean handkerchief over the socket and bite firmly down for 15 minutes. This is essentially what the dentist will have asked you to do right after removing the tooth and the pressure should stop the bleeding. Do not use tissue- it will dislodge the clot when you try to remove it and avoid putting gauze in and out repeatedly- this will actually be disturbing the clot rather than letting it heal.
It is normal for you to bleed a little. The blood often mixes with saliva to appear more than it really is. In this case, just gently wipe your mouth with a tissue; avoid a massive spit as this may pull the whole clot out.
I generally advise taking a Paracetamol or Nurofen as directed on the packet, after an hour of leaving the surgery. This means you have something to kick in, as the anesthetic is wearing off. Some pain and soreness is to be expected and is quite normal. If you take medication from your doctor, check with your pharmacist which painkillers or analgesics are suitable.
Avoid brushing the area of the extraction, but you can brush all your other teeth normally. Sometimes if you have had a nasty surgical procedure, I may advise dipping a cotton bud in Savacol and gently wiping this around the wound, as you are unable to brush. This will help stop/slow plaque formation around the site.
This will depend on if you have had bone removed and how traumatic the surgical procedure was. A hamster like appearance is common after difficult impacted wisdom teeth extractions particularly if you have had general anaesthetic. The application of ice packs to the sides of the face for the first 8 hours (20 minutes on the face – 20 minutes off the face) may help to reduce the swelling. The dentist may also provide you with anti-inflammatories at the time of the procedure or for afterwards.
See below. It has been reported that certain antibiotics may make the contraceptive pill ineffective so take extra precautions.
The following morning do some warm salt rinses. Place a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water, as hot as you can comfortably tolerate, and just hold this over the socket- there is no need to rinse vigorously. Repeat this as often as you think about it for the next few days, until swelling and soreness have subsided (at least 3 times per day). This will help to keep it nice and clean for the next few days.
The longer you have spent with your mouth open wide and the more difficult and stressful the procedure, the more stiffness you are likely to get in your jaw muscles. This may limit how wide you can open for a few days.