Having a tooth pulled out may not be painful, but it is not a pleasant experience. This process usually takes a few minutes if there are not complications, but it is within the next few days when it becomes the patient’s job to take care of the wound.
After a tooth is extracted, the socket fills with blood immediately. In the majority of cases, stitches are not necessary except in cases with severe bleeding.
Depending on the case, the dentist may place a special packing into the socket to help the bleeding stop, and it must not be removed.
1. Bite a small piece of gauze for a few minutes, take it out and trash it: The blood coagulation mechanism starts immediately, and under normal conditions, bleeding should stop after a few minutes. Shortly after, a newly formed blood clot is established inside the socket and it will not fall out, unless the patient fails to follow the dentist’s instructions.
2. No hard spitting: After a tooth extraction, the empty socket contains a delicate clot, therefore any change of pressure in the mouth, can dissolve it. This is why it is advised to spit gently or to use a towel to collect the drool.
3. Eat cold foods: Having ice cream or cold jello is a good idea of a snack following a dental extraction. Cold will contract blood vessels, helping to stop the bleeding. Other measures regarding food are important, such as chewing on the opposite side of the mouth, avoiding hard food and very hot meals.
4. Sneeze with the mouth open: Trying to sneeze with the mouth closed or covering the nose when sneezing may damage the clot as well; therefore keeping the mouth open is the best way to prevent this problem from happening.
5. No exercise: Working out raises the body temperature, this dilates blood vessels and could cause bleeding. It is recommended to suspend exercise for one week.
6. Avoid sunlight exposure: For the same reason working out should be avoided, sun light exposure must be kept to a minimum, in particular on the first day after the tooth extraction.
7. No aspirin: If you are taking aspirin or any other blood thinner, your dentist should have discussed your case with your physician prior to your tooth extraction. However, if you are not under any treatment, and feel that you need aspirin for another reason, it is important to consult with your dentist before taking it.
8. No smoking: Smoking should be avoided for several weeks because it interferes with the healing process.
9. No touching the socket: This may seem obvious, but many patients are curious and touch the wounds with their fingers or with the tongue, causing further injury and disintegrating the clot.
10. Take the medication your dentist prescribes: Pain killers may be prescribed by the dentist. It is important for you to take them because only the dentist knows how traumatic the extraction was and how painful the injury will be after the anesthesia wears away.