PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What should I do after I've had a tooth pulled?

ANSWER

Following an extraction, your dentist will send you home to recover. Recovery typically takes a few days. The following can help minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed recovery:

  • Take painkillers as prescribed.
  • Bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for three to four hours after the extraction.
  • Apply an ice bag to the affected area immediately after the procedure to keep down swelling. Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time.
  • Relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Limit activity for the next day or two.
  • Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket.
  • After 24 hours, rinse with your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
  • Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
  • Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the extraction. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
  • When lying down, prop your head with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue -- but be sure to avoid the extraction site. Doing so will help prevent infection.

SOURCES:

Weill Cornell Medical College, department of surgery: "Dental Extraction."

American Dental Association: "Tooth Extractions."

Kaiser Permanente: "Tooth Extraction for Gum Disease."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Tooth Extraction for Gum Disease."

Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr. on September 13, 2020

SOURCES:

Weill Cornell Medical College, department of surgery: "Dental Extraction."

American Dental Association: "Tooth Extractions."

Kaiser Permanente: "Tooth Extraction for Gum Disease."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Tooth Extraction for Gum Disease."

Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr. on September 13, 2020

NEXT QUESTION:

When should I call my dentist after my tooth is pulled?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

"ALEXA, ASK WEBMD"

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

    Other Answers On: