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Tips to Protect Your Smile After a Surgical Extraction

They say the best offense is a good defense, and as dentists, we can’t agree more — especially where extractions are concerned. It may seem like a minor, routine procedure (and in many ways it is), but plenty can go wrong if you don’t know what to look for. 

In this blog, our dentists at Rifkin Dental in Carmel and Yorktown Heights, New York, share our best insider info so you can prepare for life after your extraction even before you step foot into our office. 

Get plenty of rest

You didn’t have major surgery, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need time to recover after your procedure. In fact, rest is a pillar of bouncing back from surgical tooth extraction. You shouldn’t require more than a day or two off from your daily routine, but you should take as much time as you need. 

During recovery, make sure you’re resting properly. That means avoiding certain foods and beverages, taking care not to chew on your surgical site, and sleeping with your head elevated as much as possible. 

Avoid rinsing and spitting

Sitting atop your open socket is a blood clot. That blood clot is virtually all that stands between your tender tooth nerves and the rest of the world — you don’t want to dislodge it. If it pops off, the result is, at best, painful and, at worst, the beginning stages of an infection. 

Blood clots can come loose easily if you spit, suck, or rinse. Do your best to avoid these motions for at least the first day after your extraction to allow your mouth time to heal. 

Clean with care

You don’t want to pump the breaks on your oral hygiene routine, but you do want to change your strategies while in recovery mode. 

Gently brush and floss your teeth and carefully wash your mouth with a salt-water mouthwash (remember to avoid spitting, swishing, and rinsing).

Minimize bleeding

Everyone heals at different rates, and some have an easier time than others, but we can almost guarantee that you’ll deal with a bit of blood after your surgery. 

Expect minor bleeding for a day or two, and keep in mind that blood mixes with your saliva, so it may look worse than it actually is. We recommend having plenty of gauze pads on hand and replacing them every hour or so (or however often you need them). 

After the first couple of days, if your bleeding hasn’t calmed down and you’re still soaking through gauze pads, give us a call. 

Know what’s not normal

Pain, swelling, and bleeding are hallmarks of the first few days of tooth extraction recovery, but your symptoms can cross a line and become concerning. 

You should call our office immediately if you notice or experience increasing pain and/or gum swelling, no improvement in bleeding, a high fever, nausea, vomiting, pain that spreads to your ear, or foul tasting or smelling drainage from your surgical site. 

Don’t ignore your regular dental appointments

Having your teeth pulled may seem like the answer to all your dental drama, but you’re not off the hook for routine care. Depending on why you had your teeth pulled in the first place, we may need to discuss your options for replacing them. 

Everyone needs regular, expert dental care, so schedule and keep your cleaning and checkup appointments. 

We’re always on call to answer questions and schedule appointments whether you’re recovering from an extraction or seeking additional oral health support. Don’t be a stranger and schedule an appointment online or over the phone today at the Rifkin Dental location closest to you.

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