Having a tooth pulled probably isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. But sometimes extraction is the best option for preventing serious problems and helping you enjoy better oral health moving forward. If you have a tooth that’s impacted or one that’s been badly damaged by decay or trauma, for instance, having the tooth pulled can relieve symptoms, prevent more serious infection, and improve your overall oral health.
Thanks to significant advances in dental tools and techniques, today’s extractions are pretty straightforward — and with a little preparation, your recovery can be a lot more comfortable too.
At Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center, Brandon Kang, DDS, and Matt Chroust, DDS, MD, use the most advanced extraction methods for their patients in San Francisco and Oakland, California. Plus, our team provides each patient with individualized treatment to help them enjoy the best results and speedy healing. Here’s what you can do now to plan for your post-extraction recovery.
Be prepared to be groggy
Simple extractions typically can be performed with only a local anesthetic, but if your extraction is more complex, we might recommend sedation or anesthesia to keep you comfortable and relaxed. In that case, you’re going to be a little drowsy when you leave our office. Plan some time to nap afterward — and make sure you have someone who can drive you home. If you can, take the next 24 hours to relax and give your body the time and energy it needs to start the healing process.
Keep the gauze in place
After your extraction, surgical gauze may be placed over the site to keep it clean and help the blood clot form in the tooth socket. Keep the gauze in place for the first few hours after your extraction — again, follow the instructions we give you when you leave the office.
Elevate your head
Whether you’re sleeping or just resting, prop your head up slightly with a pillow to help reduce swelling. Lying flat can increase swelling and make you more uncomfortable.
Stick to soft foods
For the first day or two, opt for soft pasta, ice cream, yogurt, smoothies, and soups to prevent irritating the area and to help keep it clean. Avoid anything spicy, and don’t eat or drink anything hot. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to support faster healing.
Don’t use straws
It might be tempting to use a straw to keep liquids away from the extraction site, but don’t be tempted. The suction created by a straw can dislodge the blood clot that helps the site heal. Don’t use straws for 24 hours after an extraction, and don’t spit, either.
Clean the area gently
Generally, you can brush and floss normally, as long as you avoid the extraction site for the first day or two. Rinse very gently with a salt water solution after 24 hours to help reduce swelling. Again, we provide you with a complete list of tips for cleaning the area after your extraction is complete.
Aside from all the other reasons to kick the habit, smoking can significantly delay healing time. Ideally, you should stop smoking for a week or two prior to your extraction, but certainly you should avoid smoking until the site is completely healed.
The best care for your oral health
Tooth extractions play an important role in helping many patients enjoy optimal oral health. If an extraction is in your future, these tips can support a faster and more comfortable recovery.
To learn more about tooth extraction or if you’re having tooth pain or other symptoms, call our office more convenient for you or request an appointment online today.