Many of us will, at some point in our lives, have a tooth pulled. Whether it's due to overcrowding, impacted wisdom teeth, trauma, or decay, it can be a frightening prospect. Your Hillsboro, OR dentist Dr. Smith wants to offer some advice on how to prepare for an extraction: what to do before, during, and after having a tooth pulled to make your life easier and make sure you heal quickly and well.
Before Having a Tooth Pulled
It's important to prepare ahead of time if you're having one or more teeth extracted. Having everything you need before your appointment will save you time and discomfort later.
Make sure you have plenty of soft foods on hand for the first few days after your extraction. Foods such as soup, Jell-o, ice cream, mashed potatoes, and pudding are easy to eat and don't require chewing. While you're at the store, you may also want to grab a couple of bags of frozen peas. Frozen peas make an excellent cold compress in the hours after your extraction, and will mold to your face better than hard ice cubes.
Arrange for some time off of work, especially if you have a job that requires a lot of talking. You'll want to take it easy for a day or two, if possible. Get some movies that you've been wanting to watch or a good book so you can relax in bed and let your mouth start healing.
During Your Extraction
Dr. Smith will numb the area to ensure you don't feel any pain, but expect there to be some pressure during the extraction. We encourage you to ask questions about the procedure if you have any concerns about the procedure or what to expect. The procedure for extractions can vary depending on your situation: some extractions are quick and simple, others will take more time and effort.
If you're anxious about the extraction, talk to our Hillsboro dental office about sedation dentistry options. If you choose conscious sedation during your treatment, make sure to have a friend or family member available to drive you to and from your appointment and to the pharmacy to pick up your medication.
Taking Care of Yourself After an Extraction
When you get home from the dentist, take a pain pill as soon as possible. It's always easier to prevent pain than get rid of it once it gets bad. Make sure to keep pressure on the extraction site by biting down on gauze for at least an hour after the procedure or until most of the bleeding has stopped. You will probably have a little bleeding from the site for the first few days; this is normal.
Grab those frozen peas (or make an ice pack) and hold it on your cheek over the extraction site. Applying periodic cold to the area will help minimize both pain and swelling. You can also help with swelling and keep the extraction site sterilized by using a saltwater rinse two to three times a day after the first day.
Avoid smoking, sucking through a straw, or any other action that creates suction in your mouth for at least 48 hours after having a tooth extracted. Failure to follow this advice may lead to an extremely painful condition called dry socket. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot over a healing extraction becomes dislodged. If you suspect you have dry socket, contact us immediately.
If you are in need of an extraction or believe you may have impacted wisdom teeth, call today for a consultation.