Tooth extraction can be a necessary dental procedure. It may relieve decay, facilitate orthodontic treatment or eliminate the pain and structural risks caused by wisdom teeth.
And while the tooth extraction itself is a serious procedure, aftercare is just as serious. Healing takes time, as the empty socket where your tooth was gradually fills in with bone and smooths over with adjacent gum tissue.
Dr. Webb believes it is vital for Fairfield, CA patients to be well versed in managing the risks of pain and infection associated with extraction.
General best practices
Pain should gradually subside in the days after extraction. If you experience throbbing pain shooting up toward the ear, you may be experiencing dry socket, which occurs when the blood clot in the empty socket becomes irritated or falls out before healing is complete. Without the blood clot, food and debris can enter the socket, causing irritation. Tobacco users and women taking oral contraceptives are at higher risk of developing dry socket. While dry socket is not an infection, it likely will require professional treatment, so call Dr. Webb if you suspect it has developed.
In some cases, not all tooth fragments are completely removed during extraction. During the recovery period, these sharp, dead bone fragments slowly work themselves out of the gums as part of natural healing. If you experience intense pain, call Dr. Webb.
If you experience a sore jaw or difficulty chewing and swallowing, you may be experiencing trismus, or soreness of the jaw joints and muscles. This can last from three to five days after surgery. If the soreness does not subside, contact Dr. Webb.
Patients are often required to fast before surgery, so your blood sugar levels may be lower than normal. Eat something soft and sugary, stay in a relaxed position and stand up slowly.
While it may subside within a few hours, an extended lack of feeling around the mouth is normal for up to 12 hours after surgery.
This should subside almost completely within 10 days after surgery. Starting as soon as you get home from surgery, apply an ice pack to your face near the area of extraction. Continue using the ice in 15-minute intervals for the first day and a half. After 36 hours, apply a warm, damp cloth instead of ice.
Some bleeding is normal after extraction. Pink-tinted saliva and light oozing is fairly common during the first 36 hours. Apply pressure with dampened gauze pads to reduce bleeding. As an alternative, a moistened tea bag can be used; the tannic acid in tea can help blood vessels contract. Try to avoid sitting upright, exercising and getting excited or upset, as these can increase blood flow to the head. If bleeding shows no signs of diminishing or increases after 48 hours, contact Dr. Webb office.