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How Long Does Tooth Extraction Recovery Take?
If you are in need of tooth extractions, you may naturally have some questions as to the aftereffects and potential risks associated with the procedure. Read this guide for suggestions on how to avoid complications afterwards.
Recovering from tooth extractions
The time period of recovery for tooth extractions is generally only a few days. Patients should be sure to comply with all instructions given by the dentist and clear schedules for the next day or two. Do not put too much stress on the body during this time.
Common dentist instructions
Since patients are under anesthetics during the procedure, a family member or friend needs to pick them up and make sure instructions are followed. Once home, gauze can be rolled up and placed at the extraction site so that a clot can form. This should be changed out routinely. Ice packs can be applied to curb swelling. Brush teeth and floss as normal, but be sure to circumvent the extraction site.
For the first day after surgery, patients should limit their diet to soft foods, such as soup, meal replacement shakes or yogurt. Avoid drinking from straws and forceful spitting during this time as well. Gradually add heavier foods over the next few days until the site has healed satisfactorily.
A note about prescriptions
It is of the utmost importance to follow the prescription for painkillers and antibiotics. Taking too many painkillers can lead to addiction, and taking antibiotics off schedule or stopping prematurely can leave the extraction site vulnerable to infection.
Preventing dry sockets
If the blood clot that forms at the extraction site fails to heal correctly, it could result in alveolar osteitis, i.e., a dry socket. Dry sockets can potentially set recovery time back weeks.
Common causes of dry sockets
Under normal circumstances, blood clots develop to protect the wound at the extraction site while it heals. Dry sockets occur when these blood clots do not form correctly or break off too early, thus leaving the wound exposed. Most cases of dry sockets occur in the week following tooth extractions, and common causes stem from smoking, birth control pills or premature removal of gauze.
How to avoid a dry socket
The healthcare professional performing the tooth extraction will have instructions to follow to prevent any complications. Follow these instructions, and also avoid the following during recovery:
- Smoking and birth control pills
- Hot or acidic beverages
- Foods such as popcorn and gum that can easily get stuck in between teeth
- Placing too much stress on the extraction site
Dry sockets can be detected from the extreme, prolonged pain they can cause. If any signs of infection should occur, consult a doctor immediately.
Experiencing or caring for someone undergoing tooth extractions can seem stressful at first, but there are ways to take some of that pressure off. Taking the proper precautions and following dentists’ orders can help facilitate the recovery process and prevent any serious complications. Be sure to ask questions and make preparations beforehand to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient.
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