What Helps Tooth Extractions Heal Faster?

Unfortunately, you may need to have your tooth pulled. But you can speed up the recovery period with these at-home care tips. 

Getting a tooth pulled is not something anyone looks forward to. Yet sometimes, a tooth extraction is the only option to prevent further infection in the mouth, remove troublesome wisdom teeth, or correct misaligned teeth. But what you do after the extraction matters a lot. 

A tooth extraction procedure is major oral surgery, but you can quickly heal from it with at-home care. Speed up your recovery period and avoid pain with these tips.

Why you may need a tooth extraction

While decay ranks as the leading cause of extraction, you may also need your tooth pulled for other reasons. Your dentist may consider removing your tooth if these factors are present:

Extensive decay. A root canal usually removes decay that has reached the tooth pulp. However, if the decay and bacterial infection are so extensive within the tooth, it’s not a viable candidate for a root canal. For those situations, your dentist will recommend an extraction. One study found that 52.2 percent of extractions were due to caries or cavities. Removing the decayed tooth reduces the risk of infection spreading to other teeth.

Crowded teeth. If your teeth grow crowded or crooked, your dentist may remove some teeth to relieve the overcrowding and make way for braces or other orthodontic treatment.

Impacted wisdom teeth. If wisdom teeth don’t erupt normally, they may require removal to prevent future tooth decay and gum disease. 

Loose tooth. If gum disease weakens the gum and bone tissue securing the tooth, it may loosen and require extraction.

How to heal after a tooth extraction

A tooth extraction procedure shouldn’t be painful because you’ll be given either local anesthesia, light sedation, or general anesthesia. After the extraction, you may experience slight pain and discomfort for a day or two. To recover faster, follow these do’s and don’ts.

Do take OTC pain medications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can reduce pain. Your dentist can also prescribe stronger pain medications if needed.

Do keep the gauze on for three to four hours. The gauze helps a blood clot form over the extraction site. If the clot fails to develop, you can develop a painful condition known as dry socket.

Do eat soft foods. Yogurt, applesauce, and pudding go easier on the extraction site. You can add more foods to your diet as you begin to heal.

Do rinse with warm salt water. Mix a half teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of water and swish in your mouth. But wait a day after extraction before rinsing.

Do prop your head on a pillow. Raising your head on a pillow at night will reduce any bleeding. 

Do brush carefully around the extraction area. After the procedure, you can brush and floss but do not aggravate the extraction area.

Do apply an ice pack. Apply a cold compress to your cheek for 20 minutes to reduce swelling and pain.

Do report unusual symptoms to your dentist. If you experience excessive bleeding or pain, contact your dentist. Report any signs of infection, such as a fever, chills, or discharge from the site. However, complications from an extraction are rare.

Don’t spit or sip through a straw. Sipping through a straw or spitting liquid may dislodge the clot from the extraction site. 

Don’t smoke. Tobacco slows the healing process. Stop for a few days, or quit altogether.

Don’t do strenuous activities. Take it easy for at least 24 hours. Avoid strenuous activities to give your body time to recover fully.

Don’t fear a tooth extraction!

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Norman, OK, location today! Our highly trained dentists can perform a tooth extraction with as little discomfort as possible and give you tips to heal faster. Don’t live near our Norman, OK, office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Norman, OK
550 24th Ave. S.W.
Norman, OK 73069