Looking after yourself, and the extraction site, will lead to a faster and more comfortable recovery
We all want to avoid needing to have a tooth extracted, especially when it is an adult tooth that has to come out. Thankfully, with the range of specialist services available at Blue Sky Dental, we can offer many ways to hopefully avoid this final outcome.
In some situations though, removing a tooth is the best, or only, option that is realistically available. We have discussed the actual extraction procedure in an earlier blog and today, we take a look at how you can help to look after yourself and also aid the healing process for a speedy recovery.
Once a tooth has been extracted, the dentist will apply some sterile gauze to the area which you should keep in place for a short while until they remove it. This acts to stem the blood flow from the site and initiates the formation of a blood clot. This clot protects the socket and starts the healing process. You should do everything possible not to dislodge the clot (more of that later) and you will be given some extra gauze for use at home in case it does come out. If the clot comes out again after you have used this additional gauze, you can use a CLEAN handkerchief to stem the flow again. Once the dentist is happy that the clot has formed, you will be able to leave our Chelmsford dental surgery.
Caring for the clot
It is important not to dislodge the blood clot as this will slow down the healing process and may lead to a ‘dry socket’ where the extraction site is exposed. This can be very painful and can also lead to infections. If you are in any discomfort following an extraction, please contact us straight away. There are many ways that a clot can be dislodged; for example you should avoid poking it with your finger, tongue or any other object. Also please avoid using that part of the mouth for eating and avoid any ‘aggressive’ actions such as spitting. You should not brush that part of your mouth although you will need to keep it clean to prevent infection.
Keep it clean
As you won’t be able to brush around the extraction site for a while, you will need to use a warm, but not hot, saline solution. This should be gently ‘tipped’ over the extraction site several times a day. Allow the solution to fall from your mouth, rather than spitting as you normally would. This gentle action will help to keep the clot in its place. You should do this for a few days, or as long as the dentist recommends, before using a very soft brush around the area.
Be nice to yourself!
Although removing a tooth is a routine dental procedure, it is an invasive one, and one that nervous dental patients especially, might worry about. It pays to acknowledge your own feelings about this and, if you feel that you may feel a little uncomfortable following it, it is probably best not to drive yourself home. Make arrangements for someone to collect you from our practice so that you arrive home in comfort.
If possible, plan to take the day off work and allow yourself to relax to help speed up the healing process. Although you should not experience any major discomfort once the local anaesthetic wears off, there may be some residual discomfort and you might wish to take your usual painkillers to ease this. If, after a couple of days, you are still experiencing any discomfort or any unexpected symptoms such as swelling, please contact us for further advice.
Even if you have allowed yourself time away from work to recover, it is important that you do use this time to rest. You should not undertake any physical activity such as sports and instead, perhaps use the opportunity to catch up on your favourite box set or a book. Although we strongly recommend that you don’t smoke at any time, for a whole number of oral and general health reasons; if you do usually smoke, it is especially important that you refrain for a short while, until the site is fully healed. Smoking will not only slow down the healing process but may also lead to infections. Alcohol should be avoided for a few days too.
Our dental team are always happy to discuss any aspect of your treatment with you. We believe that offering comprehensive advice allows our patients not only to understand what happens during a procedure such as an extraction, but also the best way to comfortably and safely recover from it. If you have any questions that you would like to ask our Chelmsford dental team, we are happy to help. You can call Blue Sky Dental on 01245 211070.
Dr Kostas Karagiannopoulos (GDC 79862)