Erie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA
Teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but there are many reasons that they don’t. In fact, data from the American College of Prosthodontists shows that 120 million people in the United States are missing at least one permanent tooth. There are many reasons to have a tooth extracted: periodontal disease, tooth decay, overcrowding, and infection, to name a few. Having a tooth extracted is a fairly simple dental procedure, but it can become hazardous without the right regimen of aftercare. Dr. Albert Starr of Laser Dentistry of Erie wants to help you avoid any complications after an extraction. Here are some do’s and don’ts you should follow to make sure your extraction site heals well.
Three things you should do after an extraction
- Use cold packs: Place these packs on the outside of the face near the area of the extraction to help minimize swelling, which will be its worst about three days following the procedure.
- Apply pressure: Immediately after an extraction, you should apply direct pressure using sterile gauze for the next several hours or until bleeding subsides—whichever comes first. This helps a clot form at the site of the extraction.
- Stay ahead of your pain: If you’ve been prescribed pain medication, use it as directed. Even if you are feeling just minimal discomfort, keep taking repeat doses of over-the-counter pain medication, as prescribed by the dentist, on schedule so that any pain remains manageable.
Things you should avoid
- Rigorous activity: Take it easy for a few days after an extraction to avoid continued bleeding. That means no heavy lifting or deep bending.
- Disturbing the wound: Avoid brushing the area of the extraction for a few days after the procedure. Toothpicks are a no-no, too.
- Tobacco use: Avoid tobacco products for about a week after having an extraction. Nicotine slows blood flow and can hinder your ability to heal. Plus, it could dislodge the blood clot, causing a dry socket.
- Straws: Whether spitting or sucking, avoid using a straw as this may dislodge your clot.
- Hard/solid foods: You should maintain a diet of soft foods for the first 48 hours.
What can you expect after an extraction?
Once your tooth is extracted by your Erie dentist, the healing process begins immediately. The reason for minimal activity is because your body is healing by forming a blood clot in the extraction socket. Any disturbance of the clot can be detrimental and could be caused by brushing your teeth, using straws, overactivity, or tobacco use. A dry socket occurs when the blood clot is dislodged or removed. When a dry socket develops, the nerves and bone at the site of extraction become exposed to a host of painful irritants, including food, fluids, and even air as you breathe in and out.
Get a tooth extracted in Erie
Dr. Albert Starr of Laser Dentistry of Erie believes in avoiding tooth loss when possible, but sometimes an extraction is the best course of action. If you need to have a tooth removed, or you’ve had a tooth extracted by Dr. Starr and have questions or concerns, contact our office today at (814) 825-2615.
Laser Dentistry of Erie serves patients in the areas of Erie, Harborcreek, and Millcreek in Pennsylvania.