After tooth extraction, a blood clot usually forms in the tooth socket, so your dentist will ask you to bite down on a gauze pad to help stop the bleeding. In some cases, your dentist can place a few stitches to close the gum edges around the extraction site. The stitches are self-dissolving, so you don’t have to be concerned about removing them.
In some rare cases, the blood clot in the socket can break loose, causing the bone to be exposed. This is a painful condition referred to as dry socket, and usually requires the dentist to cover the socket with a sedative dressing for a few days while a new clot forms.
After the Extraction
While the process of pulling out a tooth is generally safe, the procedure leaves an open wound that can allow bacteria in your mouth to enter the bloodstream. You are also at risk of getting your gum tissue infected. So, many dentists recommend antibiotics before and after the extraction, but this alone is not enough to keep your mouth healthy. Proper oral hygiene, including on the first day, will help you feel better, prevent infection, and promote faster recovery.
When brushing your teeth after tooth extraction:
- Brush your remaining teeth every morning and evening to ensure that your mouth remains clean for faster healing. Also clean your tongue to help eliminate any unpleasant taste after the extraction.
- Use a soft-bristled brush and clean your mouth gently and slowly using small circular motions.
- Don’t clean the teeth adjacent to the wound area for the rest of the day, but you can start cleaning them the next day.
- If your wound was stitched up, consider rinsing your mouth. On the day of the extraction, rinse your mouth gently with a solution of salt and warm water after every meal to keep food particles away from the wound area. Don’t rinse vigorously to avoid the risk of dislodging the blood clot. Use ½ teaspoon salt for 8 ounces (240 ml) of warm water
- On the first day after the procedure, start rinsing your mouth thoroughly in the morning and evening using 0.12% chlorhexidine solution until the stitches dissolve. Rinse your mouth for at least one minute before spitting out the solution.
- Use a new toothbrush dipped in chlorhexidine solution when brushing your mouth. Ordinary toothpaste has a neutralizing effect on chlorhexidine, and therefore should not be used.
Watch out for anything that may cause infection or prolong healing time, and report any signs of infection to your doctor immediately. Also, don’t drink from a straw for the first 24 hours, maintain a soft diet for the first 24 hours, and take care to chew on the opposite side from the surgery