Tooth pain can be quite troublesome and the pain after tooth extraction can be agonizing as well. Although the procedure of tooth extraction is very safe, there can be chances of an infection. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the extraction site and the gum tissue can also develop infection after tooth extraction. When an individual has underlying conditions which make him more prone to developing infections, antibiotics are prescribed before and after the extraction process. Here we will look at what can be done to deal with tooth extraction pain and also when it is a matter of concern.
How to Relieve Pain After Tooth Extraction
Immediately after the extraction, there is minimal pain due to the effect of the anesthetics, hence it is better to take the prescribed painkiller or OTC medications suggested by the doctor immediately. This is because, the pain is easier to prevent than to reduce once it sets in. Drugs like Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Paracetamol can be taken.
Ice helps to reduce the pain and also causes the area to go numb. Place an ice bag to reduce the swelling and pain after tooth extraction. This can be done for 10 minutes at a time and as per the instructions given by the dentist on how to perform it safely.
It is recommended to take rest for the day after the procedure is done. Normal activities should be followed for a week and the patient should not get involved in any rigorous sports or exercises. This is to ensure that the clot does not get dislodged from the extracted tooth socket.
Use pillows to prop up your head when lying down. A flat profile can cause the bleeding time to extend.
The right foods
Since it will be difficult to chew after the procedure due to the pain after tooth extraction, soft foods should be eaten. Soup and yogurt on the day after and gradually move on to semi-soft foods. Any hard, hot and spicy or chewy foods should be avoided since they can irritate the wound and can get lodged in to the tooth socket.
Salt water rinse
Do not rinse or spit for at least 6 hours after the extraction, as this can cause the clot to get dislodged from the socket
Once you are allowed to rinse, gently cleanse the mouth and avoid brushing at the extraction site. Warm salt water should be used to rinse the mouth every two hours, after 24 hours of the procedure. This should be done after every meal for a week after the procedure. To make the solution, mix ½ tsp of salt in 8 ounces of water.
It is important to drink plenty of water after the surgery. However, alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated and hot beverages should be avoided in the initial 24 hours. Using a straw is not recommended as the sucking action can cause the blood clot to dislodge. It should be avoided for at least a week.
Tobacco can cause a delay in healing of the wound and also increases the risk of complications. Smoking should be avoided for at least 48 hours and if a person chews tobacco, he should refrain from using it for at least a week following the procedure.
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Watch Out for Dry Socket
In normal conditions, when a tooth is extracted, a blood clot is formed in the empty socket. The dentist will ask you to bite gently on a gauze pad placed in the socket, so reduce the bleeding. If the socket is large, self-dissolving stitches are used to close the extraction socket with the gum edges.
It is possible that the blood clot which was formed, gets dislodged and the bone in the empty socket gets exposed. This condition is called dry socket and is very painful. This has to be reported to the dentist, who will then cover the socket with a sedative dressing, which remains on for a few days. This protects the socket till a new clot is formed.
A dry socket is when the extraction site will be dry looking gap. There is no presence of a dark blood clot, but a whitish bone instead. A dry socket will be evident around 2 days after the extraction procedure. If it is ignored, the pain starts getting severe, radiating up to the ear.
Dry socket can also cause unpleasant smell and taste in the mouth and bad breath.
Pain After Tooth Extraction: When Should I Worry?
As discussed pain after tooth extraction is normal, especially after the effect of the anesthesia wears off. For the initial 24 hours, there is pain as well as swelling, along with some bleeding. In case the pain worsens or the bleeding does not stop after 4 hours of the procedure, it is important to inform the dentist. The dentist should also be called in case any of the following symptoms are experienced:
In case of any infection, fever or chills
Nausea or vomiting
Chest pain, shortness of breath and cough
Redness in the extraction site, along with swelling or increased discharge
Around 1 – 2 weeks will be required for the extraction site to heal. New bone and gum tissue grows at the site to fill in the gap. Sometimes however when a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth move in and there can be difficulty in chewing, as it affects the bite. In such cases implants are suggested.