Special care following removal of a tooth
The formation of a good clot is the key to trouble-free healing after tooth extraction. Anywhere else on the body, a clot dries to a scab which is essential to the repair and healing of tissues underneath.
Immediate first aid
Apply compression by biting down on a gauze pad for 30 minutes. This should slow and stop the bleeding. At this stage, pink-stained saliva is just ‘ooze’ and normal for the first day. However, if there is still definite bleeding, bite down on another gauze for another 30 minutes. Repeat once more if necessary. (The blood flow has to almost stop for clotting to occur)
If still bleeding after this third gauze pack, contact the surgery immediately. (After hours, our answerphone will give a mobile number to call)
As with any other soft tissue injury, ice packs provide pain relief and minimise swelling when applied in the first 48 hours post extraction. Wrap an ice pack – or bag of frozen veg! – in a clean tea towel and hold to the outside of the cheek. After about 10 minutes, the area will feel numb. Remove after a further 10 minutes. A few applications will help keep facial swelling to a minimum.
Protect the clot
Once established, the clot needs to remain in place – much like a scab.
*avoid rinsing and spitting for the next 24hours as this can disturb/dislodge the clot
*don’t smoke for at least 48 hours (this is really important for healing and to minimise the risk of infection. Tobacco retards with the growth of tiny blood vessels necessary for healing www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/tobaccodw.html and is believed to suppress the immune response of neutrophils, the primary defence against infection. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19075440
* avoid alcohol and vigorous exercise for 24 hours, which temporarily ‘thin the blood’ and increase the risk of further bleeding
For optimal post-op recovery
*After 24 hours, warm salt water rinses cleanse and promote healing. A mild salty solution is gentle on healing tissues because it matches the pH of the body’s tissues. It also helps prevent infection by leaving a more alkaline environment in the mouth which is a difficult environment for bacteria.
It’s great to wash and rinse like this 2-3 times/day for up to 7 days)
*Eat and drink as normal – after allowing hot foods and drink to cool to luke-warm before consuming. Healing tissues are more sensitive to extremes in temperature and heat can promote further bleeding.
*Clean your teeth normally – except for immediately over the clot.
In the event of increasing pain
An increase in pain during the 3 days following a tooth extraction is most likely down to the condition known as a ‘dry socket’. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dry-socket Known as alveolar osteitis, it occurs when a clot fails to form or becomes dislodged. Please call the surgery and we will arrange to place a special dressing and advise on pain relief or antibiotics.