Tooth extraction is a dental procedure where a tooth is removed from the socket in the jawbone. This procedure is performed by a dentist for reasons relating to tooth decay, gum disease, infection or overcrowding. Once the tooth is extracted, the area will be very sensitive and could even be quite painful. Find out how you can speed up your recovery period with these top tips from Bloom.
Why do you need to have a tooth extracted?
There are various reasons why a dentist would need to do a tooth extraction. Some of these include the following:
- Tooth decay or infection. Teeth that have decayed or are infected will need to be extracted to prevent further decay. Discover more about how to prevent tooth decay.
- Gum disease. Teeth often become loose or damaged during the advanced stages of gum disease.
- Wisdom teeth removal. Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars found in the back of the mouth. They can cause a range of dental complications and are often removed by a dentist.
- Overcrowding. Sometimes when there isn’t enough room in one’s mouth for all the teeth, and the dentist can recommend a tooth extraction to alleviate discomfort.
Tips for speeding up recovery after tooth extraction
Following a tooth extraction, your dentist will provide some aftercare instructions. It’s important that you follow these guidelines. It’s also important to note that people’s recovery experience can be a very different process. However, here are some effective tips to help speed up the recovery:
- Apply ice packs to the area. By applying an ice pack to the area for 10-20 minutes at a time, you can reduce swelling and discomfort. Do this for the first 48 hours after the tooth extraction.
- Rest. Avoid strenuous activity, like exercising, for a few days. This will allow your body to heal.
- Painkillers. You can use prescribed or over-the-counter pain medication as recommended by your dentist or oral surgeon. Stick to the dosage instructions. Only take the medication as prescribed. Don’t ever exceed the recommended dosage.
- Diet. It’s recommended that you eat soft foods for the first few days after the tooth extraction to avoid irritating the extraction site. Some of the best foods to eat are:
- Soup or broth, like chicken noodle or butternut soup.
- Smoothies. A good option to get a nutritious meal. Consider adding nutrient-rich ingredients, like berries, peanut butter and bananas.
- Yoghurt. This is a great source of protein and probiotics that help support the healing process
- Scrambled eggs
- Saltwater rinse. It’s very important to keep the extraction site clear and clean in order to prevent an infection. Rinse your mouth out with warm water and a teaspoon of salt regularly.
Things to avoid after tooth extraction
There are things that you can do to speed up your recovery following tooth extraction and there are things that should be avoided as they might have a negative effect on your recovery. Some of these include:
- Drinking through a straw. This could dislodge a blood clot from the extraction site, leading to a painful condition known as alveolar osteitis or ‘dry socket.’ Normally, a blood clot forms in the socket after a tooth extraction, which protects the underlying bone and nerves. If the blood clot becomes dislodged the bone and nerves are exposed, resulting in severe discomfort. The area could also become infected.
- Smoking. Smoking can delay or inhibit the healing process as it exposes the sensitive area to heat and chemicals.
- Hard or crunchy foods. Some types of food, like meat products or fruit, can irritate the extraction site when you are chewing. Stick to the soft food options for a few days after the procedure.
- Touching the extraction site. Avoid touching the extraction site with your fingers as this could expose the area to bacteria and subsequent infection.
- Alcohol. Drinking alcohol will also inhibit or slow down the healing process. It also increases the risk of bleeding in your mouth.
Get health insurance with a dental benefit
Bloom encourages members to focus on healthy living. Follow these tips to ensure a speedy recovery from tooth extraction. If you do develop dental problems, like tooth decay or gum disease, we advise visiting a dentist to get a treatment plan or care in a timely manner. Get health insurance with dental benefits.
Contact one of our trained consultants to discuss your options for an affordable dental healthcare plan that suits your needs.
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You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Bloom website are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All content provided on the website, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Neither is it intended to be a substitute for an independent professional medical opinion, judgement, diagnosis or treatment.