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20 January 2015

What to expect after an extraction

After tooth extraction, the empty tooth socket, which is the extracted area, will be tender and in a delicate condition. The first 24 hours after extraction is crucial. During this time, you should avoid rinsing your mouth, spitting, touching the empty socket, or putting unnecessary pressure on the extracted area. Right after extraction, it is important to devote the rest of the day to rest and avoid any kind of strenuous activity or exercise. It is recommended to take a day or two off from work after the procedure. This is to effectively facilitate the healing and recovery time.

The anesthetics you were given prior to extraction would still be in effect a few hours or so after extraction. After your tooth has been taken out, it is your responsibility to prevent infection and damage on the blood clot that has formed on the socket. This blood clot contributes to the healing process.

Full recovery after tooth extraction may take a week up to two weeks. During this time, you may experience the following:

  • inflammation or swelling of the mouth and cheeks
  • pain
  • bleeding
  • a stiff, sore jaw
  • tingling or numbness of your face, lips, or tongue
  • an unpleasant taste in your mouth

Swelling is normal for the first few days, and gradually disappears as the extracted area heals. To help reduce the swelling, press a cold compress to your swollen cheek.

Soreness and pain in the extracted area is common for the first few days. Pain ranges from mild, dull aches that occur on and off to persistent, throbbing pain that can be unbearable for some. For this reason, dentists usually prescribe patients with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain like Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. To prevent infection, you may also be prescribed with antibiotics, so make sure to finish the required number of antibiotics within the duration you’ve been given. As with any other medication, you should also take your medical history into consideration. Patients with asthma need to avoid Ibuprofen-based drugs. If you are allergic to certain types of pain medication, inform your dentist as well.

For the first day or two, slight bleeding is a normal occurrence. However, most patients are bothered by the sight of blood, particularly the amount of bleeding. The amount of blood may look a lot but that’s mostly due to the blood mixing with a huge amount of your saliva.

Stiffness or soreness in the jaw is also common, but naturally dissipates within 7-10 days. The skin around your jaw may show signs of bruising which will also disappear within your recovery time.

To avoid putting too much pressure on the extracted area, eat soft, lukewarm food and chew using your other teeth. Maintaining cleanliness is a must and you may resume brushing your teeth again normally after a few days.

In case of persistent pain and bleeding, contact your dentist right away.

Your dentist will arrange a follow-up appointment with you 1-2 weeks after tooth extraction. This is also the time when remaining stitches will be removed.

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