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Tooth Extraction: At-Home Follow-Up Care

If you’re scheduled to have a tooth pulled, it’s perfectly normal to be a little anxious about it. Fortunately, modern dental technology means that virtually any dental procedure – including tooth extraction – can be performed with little or no discomfort for the patient. Here’s more good news about having a tooth pulled: you can be proactive in helping your mouth to heal at home after the procedure. In fact, many dentists will agree that at-home follow-up care is an extremely important part of any tooth extraction. Here are a few steps you can take at home after the procedure to speed up your recovery.

  • Treat your pain. As is the case with any procedure, your body will heal much faster if you’re able to get adequate rest afterward, and you won’t be able to rest soundly if you’re in pain. For tooth extractions, most people can find comfort with over-the-counter painkillers. But if that doesn’t work for you, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for a stronger prescription. Just make sure to follow the directions carefully and only take the medication for a brief period of time until you are no longer in pain.
  • Take a little time off work. Most dental patients can return to work relatively quickly after the procedure, but you should definitely plan on taking at least a whole day off after the extraction. Remember the importance of rest, and the best way to get sufficient rest is by staying home.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity. This is particularly important for the first 1 to 3 days after your procedure. Don’t bend over, exercise or lift anything heavy.
  • Be careful about what you eat and drink. Immediately after the procedure, and for a few days afterwards, limit yourself to drinking beverages and eating only very soft foods. This will be more comfortable for you, and will also help to protect your stitches. Avoid using straws to drink liquids, since sucking can cause some bleeding to start again at the point of incision.

If you’re very nervous about your upcoming procedure, talk to your dentist about dental sedation methods that may help to relax you during your visit. Afterwards, follow these simple steps and any other instructions provided by your dentist to speed up the recovery process. After a week or so, you should be as good as new. But if you’re still experiencing discomfort after that period of time, contact your dentist.