Getting a tooth pulled is no-one’s idea of a fun time. It smarts, you bleed all over the chair and it leaves you with a life-time fear of dentists that won’t just go away.
But unfortunately there’s more bad news… You’re not out of the woods yet! For a little while after having your tooth out you’re still going to be sore, you’re still going to be bleeding everywhere and you’re still going to be at risk of making it worse. And it will be a while before you’re chewing on hard candy…
This doesn’t have to be a stressful experience though, as long as you know what to expect and you know how to take care of your mouth following the surgery it should be over quickly and without incident. Read on and we’ll take a look at some of the things you need to know.
1. Use Painkillers Right Away
When you first come home from the dentist you may not be in much pain thanks to all of the anaesthetic. This is a good thing, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you don’t need painkillers. Now is the best time to take them (after checking with your doctor) as you can thereby ‘pre-empt’ the pain that would otherwise start later. When it comes to painkillers, prevention is better than cure and this is often more effective than taking them once the pain kicks in.
That said, you do want to avoid using aspirin. You will likely discover that you bleed a lot after dental surgery, and as aspirin is a blood thinner this can make the issue worse.
2. Control Bleeding
Your dentist should have given you instructions on how to prevent bleeding using a ‘gauze pad’. To recap, this pad should be placed with firm pressure on the affected area. You will probably be given spares to use at home and you should swap these after about 30 minutes (use the amount of blood as a guide). You should remove them before eating.
As a side note, try not to get too alarmed at the amount of blood you experience. You’ll find that you spit up quite a lot of blood at first which can be scary, but just bear in mind that this is actually deceptive as volume has been added by your saliva. If you’re concerned though, you can always return to your dentist and check that everything is okay.
Normally you’ll be told not to swill in the first 24 hours after your surgery. After all, you’ll still be bleeding a lot at this point and that will mean you’re just mixing blood up in your mouth at first.
Once the 24 hour period has passed though, you should start gently rinsing with a saline solution (water with a little salt). This will help to clean the wound and the antibacterial nature of the salt will help to prevent infection. Your dentist might also recommend you to use a mouthwash, but base this on their recommendation.
You should still brush your teeth even after having a tooth pulled, it’s just important that you be particularly careful not to upset the damaged area. To this end, be very gentle and don’t brush directly on the scab or you might end up making it bleed a lot again.
The other thing you need to think about is how you’re going to eat without once again exacerbating the problem. The solution is to eat soft foods or even liquid foods – there are plenty of meal replacements you can get which contain all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you need in your diet but in a liquid form. Try to avoid drinking through a straw though, as otherwise the suction you create in your mouth can end up damaging the wound as well and triggering more bleeding.
Follow these instructions, take it ease and take some time off of work (especially in the hours immediately following the procedure). This way you’ll be able to speed up your recovery, avoid exacerbating the wound, and get back to eating pork scratchings again in no time!