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Treatment after Extractions and Oral Surgery

Extraction of teeth is not a very pleasant procedure. But healing of wounded tissues can be even more unpleasant if you do not follow certain rules. The wound can be properly healed only when a blood clot is formed over the damaged area and covers the extraction site. This article will provide instructions concerning treatment after extractions and other oral surgeries.


The extraction site may be sensitive after the surgery. However, it is a normal state and the pain can be reduced with the help of some basic painkillers. It is desirable to start taking medicines right after the operation as it is better to prevent pain than to cope with a torturing feeling that already exists. Ibuprofen and ketoprofen are the most widespread painkillers. However, you may try using medicines containing codeine for extra relief. Keep in mind that before taking any medicines it is better to consult your dentist as drugs containing codeine may harm people who suffer asthma.
In this case you will be offered an alternative. It is better not to take disprin (aspirin) as it can cause bleeding. If you feel you need a stronger medicine, it is better to ask your dentist for advice.

After tooth extraction and other oral surgeries it is better to take a good rest. You should not exercise for 12 to 24 hours. It is also important not to bend or lift heavy loads for about 2 or 3 days. Specialists recommend to keep your head high during sleep. This position cam be acheived with the help several pillows. If numbness lasts more than 6 hours, it makes good sense to see your dentist or even the oral surgeon. It is possible to reduce swelling with the help of an injection of steroids right into the nerve area. This method can also speed up the recovery process. However, it can be used only during the first 24 hours after the surgery. Some anaesthetics (marcaine) can cause prolongued numbness, but your dentist is supposed to warn you about the effect before the surgery.

One more thing that you should know is how to cope with bleeding after the surgery. It is desirable that your dentist should tell you about it. The most widespread method is to cover the damaged area with a gauze pad and press it firmly. Do not forget to change the dressings every 30-45 minutes. Some people might be frightened by the amount of blood, but in fact it is mostly saliva mixed with some small amount of blood. Usually patients are given a package of gauze in the dental clinic. However, you might need more of it, so it is better to buy some in advance. Before you apply the gauze, fold it to make a thick pad. Then moisten the pad and press it to the damaged area (or you can bite it). Bleeding is supposed to stop in about 30 to 60 minutes. If this method does not work, you can try using a tea bag. First you should moisten it, then fold and put on the wound for about 30 minutes. Black tea is a source of tannic acid, it helps to stop bleeding. You should know that slight bleeding during the first day after the surgery is normal. Otherwise you should see your dentist at once.

It is strongly recommended not to rinse the mouth cavity during the first day after the surgery. However, after that period it is desirable to rinse the mouth not less than 4 times a day using warm salty water (1 teaspoon of salt for a glass of warm water). Forceful spitting is not desirable. You should rinse after each meal to remove all food debris and bacteria.

You may be also prescribed a special chlorhexidine mouthwash. In the UK it is called Corsodyl, sold in pharmacies. In the USA it is called Peridex and should be prescribed by a dentist. You should use it for about 10 days after the surgery to kill pathogenic bacteria.

During the first 3-4 days after the surgery there is a risk to dislodge the blood clot while cleaning your teeth so it is better to gently clean the area with a gauze pad. In some cases patients may feel discomfort caused be swelling (especially after removal of wisdom teeth). In this case it is recommended to use a chlorhexidine mouthwash.

You should try eating soft or even liquid food for the first few days after the surgery. It is a good idea to eat soups yoghurts, fruit milkshakes, smoothies and mashed potatoes. Do not forget about Vitamin C. During the first 3-4 days after the tooth extraction the risk of tissue irritation is high, so it is better to forget about hot or spicy food, hot drinks and sodas. Additional recommendations concerning soft foods can be found in the article: Soft Food Suggestions.

If after the surgery you are taking antibiotics, mind the instructions and remember that if you do not finish the course, the treatment will be in vain.

Some people who underwent the procedure of extraction of teeth (especially wisdom teeth or wizziez) can suffer swelling and bruising. Swelling, pain and jaw stiffness usually reach the highest point on the second or third day after the procedure. To reduce the swelling after the surgery, it is recommended to apply an ice pack to the damaged area. Remove the pack after each 15 minutes. Continue doing this until you go to bed. It is also a good idea to keep your head up. The two most common problems faced by patients after the extraction of teeth are jaw soreness and swelling. The first problem can be solved with the help of moist heat and to cope with the second, it makes good sense to try Arnica a homeopathic treatment that can be used to make mouthwashes or as a cream.

After the wisdom teeth have been removed, you should try stretching your mouth to make it operate normally again. Keep in mind that if you do not open the mouth wide enough, it might lead to trismus (permanent limited opening). However, opening the mouth too wide is not a good idea as well.

Chlorine dioxide gel is a perfect means that can be successfully used after extraction of teeth or any other operations that can cause gum soreness. It works great for oral ulcers and burns. However, this gel might be difficult to get as it is not sold in shops or pharmacies. Anyway, you can try to buy it from your dentist or order Oxyfresh Dental Gel by mail.

Not recommended

Do not rinse the damaged area for at least 24 hours after the procedure.

Forget about hot food and drinks. Wait until the numbing wears off. The main reason for that is that you might get a severe burn without even noticing it. Do not chew your cheeks.

The damaged area is extremely sensitive, so it is better not to touch it with your fingers or the tongue. Forget about spitting, blowing your nose and drinking using straws. Any kind of pressure might dislodge the blood clot and cause bleeding. Those who are allergic or have a cold should take proper treatment.

It makes good sense to give up smoking or at least to avoid it during the heeling process. Smoking has negative influence on the condition of the mouth cavity and sucking motions can dislodge the blood clot. Healing process can be also delayed if you consume alcohol during the first day after the extraction procedure.

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