Proud to Smile Logo

How To Take Care Of Your Mouth After Dental Extractions 

Aug 01, 2023
How To Take Care Of Your Mouth After Dental Extractions 
Are you gearing up for a dental extraction? Taking care of your mouth afterward is crucial for a smooth recovery. Keep reading for our top tips and best practices to help you heal without complications after a dental extraction. 

At Proud to Smile Dentistry in Bernardsville, New Jersey, one of our goals is to help you maintain excellent oral health and retain as many of your natural teeth as possible. But even with excellent care, it’s not always possible to save every tooth.

When removing a tooth becomes essential to preserving your overall oral health, Dr. Patricia Swaintek-Lamb and our team offer the best in dental extractions. From simple extractions with a dental elevator to more complex surgical extractions, our team gives your teeth the care they need.  

Whether you’re having a wisdom tooth taken out, a tooth removed because of decay or infection, or another dental extraction, taking care of your mouth after your procedure is crucial for a smooth recovery. Here’s a look at best oral care practices following a tooth extraction.  

1. Follow all post-operative instructions

After your dental extraction, Dr. Swaintek-Lamb gives you specific post-operative instructions tailored to your situation. Following these instructions with care is key to promoting healing and minimizing your risk of complications. 

Depending on your unique situation, these instructions may include things like:

  • Taking prescribed medications, such as painkillers or antibiotics, as directed
  • Applying ice packs to reduce swelling in the first 24 hours
  • Avoiding rinsing or spitting forcefully for the first 24 hours
  • Limiting physical activity and avoiding strenuous exercise until directed
  • Avoiding hot and spicy foods or drinks that can irritate the extraction site
  • Gently brushing your teeth, avoiding the extraction site
  • Using a saltwater rinse as recommended to keep the area clean

Dr. Swaintek-Lamb will also caution you against using a straw for about a week, as sucking motion can cause bleeding and dislodge blood clots that form at the surgical site (socket). 

2. Stay on top of swelling and pain

It’s natural to experience some swelling and mild pain after undergoing a dental extraction. The good news is that oral tissues tend to heal quickly, which means any pain, swelling, or bleeding tends to resolve quickly, too. 

You can accelerate your healing by following these guidelines:

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers as recommended by Dr. Swaintek-Lamb
  • Regularly apply ice packs or cold compresses to the swollen area for short intervals 
  • Avoid hard or chewy foods that may aggravate the extraction site

To make sure your mouth is well cared for and irritation to the extraction site is minimal, you may want to follow a soft food diet for the first few days. 

3. Keep your mouth clean

After a dental extraction, some people are afraid to brush or otherwise clean their mouth. But good oral hygiene is necessary for preventing infection and promoting healing. 

You can help your mouth heal by taking extra care to keep your mouth clean after a dental extraction. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid brushing the extraction site for the first 24 hours after your procedure
  • After 24 hours, gently brush your teeth, being careful not to disturb the blood clot forming in the socket
  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater solution as recommended by Dr. Swaintek-Lamb to help keep the extraction site clean
  • Avoid using mouthwashes containing alcohol, as they can irritate the area

And remember: Don’t not use a straw for drinking. The suction from the straw can dislodge the blood clot and delay your healing.

4. Watch out for complications

While most dental extractions heal without complications, it's crucial to be aware of any signs of trouble. Contact Dr. Swaintek-Lamb if you experience:

  • Excessive bleeding that doesn’t subside with gentle pressure
  • Severe pain or worsening pain after the first few days
  • Prolonged or worsening swelling
  • Persistent fever or chills
  • Unpleasant odor or taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty opening your mouth or swallowing

Since everyone’s healing process is different, it's important to contact our team if you have any concerns or questions regarding your dental extraction recovery.

Have more questions about how to care for your mouth after a dental extraction? Get personalized answers by scheduling a consultation online or over the phone at Proud to Smile Dentistry in Bernardsville, New Jersey, today.