After Extraction Care
In order to avoid a dry socket (an infection of the bone which may occur after an operation, usually caused by the premature loss of a blood clot):
- Avoid any sort of excessive exercise for at least a few hours. You should ideally be resting in a chair, and using another pillow at night time. Overexertion can and will cause more bleeding.
- Avoid drinking any alcoholic drinks for at least 24 hours.
- Take painkillers (with the exception of aspirin) as recommended by your dentist. Ensure you follow dosage instructions carefully.
- It’s possible for your tongue to feel the sharp edge of a socket, and occasionally small bone fragments may find their way out. This is not unusual, and is nothing to be alarmed by.
- Try not to let your tongue disturb the socket. Avoid problems by eating food on the ‘other’ side of your mouth, and by avoiding vigorous rinsing as this may cause the healing process to be slower.
Dry socket can be extremely painful, and it can delay healing quite considerably. It may last for up to 4 or 6 weeks.
Within 24 hours of the extraction:
- Do not rinse your mouth
- Refrain from smoking cigarettes.
- Remember: clean, healthy mouths heal more quickly than neglected ones.
- Refrain from driving or using machinery
- It is highly unlikely that you will be in any mood for working, or going out to social events.
Instructions for 24 hours after the extraction:
- Bathe the wound at least three times a day with a salt water rinse. This can be prepared by adding a level teaspoon of table salt to a small glass of warmed water. Repeat until the wound is healed.
- Should the pain be severe after 24 hours, contact Quality Dental NHS Dentist Fulham surgery for further advice.
- Make a firm pad from some clean gauze or linen, or a simple handkerchief. Roll it up tightly.
- Stay sitting up, and ensure you clean your mouth to remove loose blood clots with a tissue or piece of linen. This will help you find the source of any bleeding.
- Place your home-made pad over the bleeding socket, all the way from the tongue to the side of the cheek. If the socket sits between two teeth, adjust the pad to fit in place.
- Bite down on the pad, keeping it firmly on the bleeding socket for fifteen minutes. Do not lie down while doing so.
- If the bleeding still continues, replace the pad after inspecting it.
- If you are excessively bleeding for an hour or more, contact the Quality Dental NHS Dentist Fulham surgery, or go to your nearest hospital A&E department.
- Swelling and discomfort for a few days after an operation is nothing unusual. However, if you experience persistent swelling, bleeding or pain, please get in touch with your dentist. Remember the aforementioned points, though - if you are experiencing bleeding, avoid disturbing the socket, smoking, drinking alcohol or overexertion.
Should persistent bleeding occur:
Complications following an extraction include:
- It is sometimes impossible to surgically remove a tooth, or the top of a tooth may snap from the roots during a procedure. If this occurs, you will be referred to an oral surgeon, and the tooth (or remaining part of a tooth) will be extracted in a hospital theatre. It’s possible that there may be a waiting list for this.
- Sockets can ooze somewhat for a few hours after an extraction. Spicules of bone sometimes are found around the edges of a wound - these will typically be exfoliated, or will be absorbed into the socket as it heals. Symptoms such as these usually improve within seven days, but it may be that they will need to be extracted by your dentist.
- Stiffness, discomfort and bruising of the jaw is not uncommon, and patients may report difficulty in fully opening their mouth. We expect these symptoms to fade within a fortnight.
- Ordinary painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can help to relieve any discomfort or pain. It’s possible you will be provided with antibiotics to avoid risk of infection.
- Wisdom teeth sockets do sometimes become infected. If this happens, swelling, stiffness and discomfort may last longer than expected, and antibiotics are likely to be prescribed.