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Tooth extractions are a very common procedure, as they can resolve a number of oral health issues. Whether you need a wisdom tooth removed or are suffering from severe damage or decay, you may need to have a tooth pulled at some point. To make sure you heal quickly after your surgery, be certain to abide by these do’s and don’ts of the recovery process.

DO have someone else bring you home from the appointment.

After your tooth extraction, it may take some time for the effects of your anesthetic to wear off. Therefore, it is important that you have a friend or relative come with you to your appointment. They will be able to help you move around immediately after your procedure, as well as drive you home from the office.

DON’T eat solid foods right away.

You will want to avoid eating solid foods for the first two days. After the anesthetic has worn off, stick to eating soft or liquid foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, smoothies and the like. You’ll want to avoid eating hot meals or foods that could become stuck in the surgical site as well. That said, be sure to maintain a healthy diet after your procedure, as this will help to facilitate a speedy recovery.

DO get plenty of rest.

For the first 24 hours after your procedure, use this time to rest. Be sure not to exercise or do too many activities during this recovery time. This rest period is important for you to heal and recuperate. As you relax, just be sure to keep your head slightly elevated, as this will facilitate the formation of the blood clot in the surgical site.

DON’T smoke.

Smoking has a negative impact on your recovery for a couple reasons. First, sucking in air can impact the blood clot and cause dry socket. Secondly, cigarette smoke can weaken your ability to heal during this process. Therefore, we recommend that you avoid smoking for the first four days after the procedure.

DO apply ice.

Applying ice to the side of the face that has had a tooth extraction can help to reduce swelling around the site. You might experience this swelling for a few days after the procedure, so be sure to do so within the first 24 hours even if this doesn’t crop up right away. Hold the ice pack to your face for twenty minutes, then remove it for the next twenty minutes, and repeat. You can do this for 1-2 hour periods for the first two days to help reduce your swelling.

DON’T disturb your extraction site for a few days.

For the first three days, it is very important that you allow the extraction site to heal, as this is the time period in which your blood clot is forming. Therefore, avoid touching the surgical site during this time and do not clean the area for the first day. It is also very important that you do not drink from a straw, whistle, smoke, or even play a wind instrument during this time, as the sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot and cause a painful condition known as dry socket.

Do you need to schedule a tooth extraction? Do you have questions about your recovery process? Contact Steger Smiles to schedule your appointment or speak with someone in our office.

Be proud of your smile.