Let’s face it. Few things are more unpleasant than a tooth extraction. While methods today have made the actual procedure more comfortable and pain-free, the dread comes from the downtime that comes after.
Don’t worry if your dentist tells you you need your tooth extracted. It’s a safe and simple procedure. That said, you could be looking at a recovery period of one to two weeks, depending on the nature of the extraction. But with the proper aftercare procedure, you can speed up your healing after tooth extraction.
Why Do I Need a Tooth Extraction?
So why would someone need a tooth extraction in the first place? Usually, a dental specialist recommends a tooth extraction when a tooth has become infected beyond repair and a root canal can no longer save it from further damage.
That said, there are other reasons your dentist might suggest a tooth extraction. Here are some of them:
- Trauma. Your dentist may recommend extraction if you injure your tooth, like a severe crack or break, beyond repair.
- Gum disease. Gum disease can damage supporting structures of the teeth, such as the gums and bones. Affected teeth can become loose and may require extraction.
- Impacted teeth. An impacted tooth fails to erupt fully or properly into the mouth. It happens especially to wisdom teeth that do not grow out properly. Impacted teeth can cause pain, swelling, and infection.
- Overcrowding. Overcrowded teeth happen when there is not enough space in the mouth for your pearly whites to fit properly. In some cases, tooth extraction may be necessary to create space for proper alignment and bite.
- Orthodontic treatment. Your dentist may recommend tooth extraction to prepare your mouth for orthodontic treatment, such as braces or aligners. While braces remain a popular way to straighten your teeth, a comfortable and non-intrusive alternative is ClearCorrect. These invisible aligners use a revolutionary tri-layer ClearQuartz material, a flat trimline, and other customisable features to create a personalised teeth-straightening solution. Visit the ClearCorrect website to learn more about its benefits.
Tooth Extraction Healing: How to Recover Quickly
Aftercare is crucial to ensuring a quick and complete recovery. Here are some tips on how you can help speed up the tooth extraction recovery time.
Practise good oral hygiene.
Practising proper oral hygiene is essential if you want to hasten your recovery. Your dentist will tell you specific instructions on how to care for the extraction site, including how often to change your gauze, how to brush your teeth, and what food to avoid. Follow these to a tee to promote faster healing.
Get lots of rest.
Rest is necessary for a quick recovery from a tooth extraction. Avoid strenuous activities such as bending over or lifting heavy objects during the first few days, as this can increase blood pressure and cause bleeding.
Keep the extraction site clean.
Keep infection at bay and help yourself heal faster by keeping the extraction site clean. Skip brushing a day or two after your surgery – instead, rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water after meals and before bed. After a few days, however, gently brush the area to remove any food particles or debris.
Apply ice packs to reduce swelling.
Cold therapy can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Apply an ice pack to your cheek for 20 minutes at a time, with at least 20 minutes between applications. Do this 24 to 48 hours after the procedure – at the height of swelling and pain.
What Are You Not Supposed to Do After a Tooth Extraction
Now that you know what you can do to speed up your recovery, there are also some don’ts to keep in mind. Some foods or activities can delay healing or even lead to an infection.
- Avoid using a straw or smoking. When you drink through a straw or smoke, you suck air in and create negative pressure in your mouth. This can dislodge the blood clot and cause a dry socket.
- Stay away from drinking alcohol. It’s best to avoid alcohol at least 24 hours after the procedure – and ideally for several days or weeks. Drink lots of water instead.
- Don’t eat hard, chewy, or crunchy foods. Crunchy, chewy, spicy, or acidic dishes can irritate the wound.
Suggested Soft Foods After Your Tooth Extraction
Do not chow down on trail mix at all costs. Instead, choose soft, nutritious foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Here are some suggestions you can enjoy while in recovery:
- Yoghurt or other frozen dairy products
- Rice porridge
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
A tooth extraction may not be the most exciting procedure to look forward to – but it doesn’t have to be a bummer. With these tips, you’ll be smiling again in no time.