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First Steps After a Tooth Extraction

Feb 01, 2022

First Steps After a Tooth Extraction

If you’re about to get a tooth extraction, you probably know what to expect in the dentist’s office. But have you considered what you’ll need to do as soon as the procedure is over? If not, we have you covered.

Tooth extractions are common procedures but still tend to create a fair amount of anxiety. If you’re like most of our patients, you’re thinking about everything leading up to and involving the procedure itself, while the issue of aftercare may slip through the cracks. 

At Ueno Center Dental Specialists, our board-certified dental surgeons are just as focused on aftercare as the procedure itself. 

Our founder, Jeremy K. Ueno, DMD, and the rest of our providers want you to feel as prepared and empowered as possible to deal with your tooth extraction aftercare safely and effectively.  

Tooth extraction 101 

You may be wondering why you would need a tooth extraction in the first place. There are a lot of reasons why this surgery is necessary, including impacted wisdom teeth, severe periodontal disease, and decaying teeth. 

Roughly 76% of adults ages 45-64 had a permanent tooth extracted between 1999 and 2004. Though this statistic is part of an objective to reduce the percentage, this data shows the procedure itself is extremely common. 

Still, many dental patients don’t realize the effort that must go into aftercare once the tooth or teeth have been removed. You might also be unaware about how the first 24 hours are crucial to a healthy recovery.

First steps post-extraction 

Most people are able to leave shortly after their surgery, which is often a relief for the patient. But this means the bulk of your aftercare duties take place at home. 

There are certain don’ts we recommend, including not brushing your teeth for 24 hours and not doing anything strenuous, spitting, or drinking through a straw for three days after. 

On the “do” side, here are the first steps you should take as soon as you’re ready to leave our office. 

Have someone else take you home

You won’t be able to leave the office if your ride is not available, so make sure someone reliable is taking you home. If you need a prescription filled, let your helper take care of this. 

Protect the extraction site

You will have a cotton pad inside your mouth to keep the extraction site from bleeding. This gauze pad should stay in your mouth for at least 45 minutes before you can safely remove it. 

Encourage healing 

Once you’ve removed the gauze, you can start applying ice packs. The ice helps reduce pain and swelling and encourages healing. Don’t leave the ice pack on for more than 15 minutes at a time. 

Eat carefully

Avoid eating for the first 45 minutes after arriving home. Then start off with very soft foods like avocados, bananas, and mashed potatoes. Don’t eat anything hot, crunchy, or hard. 

Rest, rest, rest

One of the most important first steps you can take is to rest after you return home. You might be sleepy, which is perfectly normal. If you decide to take a nap, sleep with your head elevated.

If not, we recommend propping yourself up in front of the TV and taking it easy. Ask friends and family members to help you take your medicine on time. Relax and let your family and friends take care of you. 

Start your recovery today

No matter what the reason for your tooth extraction, getting treatment sooner rather than later is always important. And now you know exactly what to do when the hard part is over. 

If you need a tooth extraction, we’re ready to help. To make an appointment, call our Campbell, California, office today.