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Tooth Extraction

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Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be needed. A very common reason involves a tooth that is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay, to be repaired. Other reasons include:

  • A crowded mouth.
  • Infection.
  • Periodontal (Gum) Disease.

What to Tell Your Dentist before You Have a Tooth Pulled

  • Damaged or man-made heart valves.
  • Congenital heart defect.
  • Impaired immune system.
  • Liver disease (cirrhosis).
  • Artificial joint, such as a hip replacement.
  • History of bacterial endocarditis.

After You've Had a Tooth Pulled
Following an extraction, your dentist will send you home to recover. Recovery typically takes a few days. The following can help minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and speed recovery.

  • Take painkillers as prescribed.
  • Bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for three to four hours after the extraction.
  • Apply an ice bag to the affected area immediately after the procedure to keep down swelling. Apply ice for 10 minutes at a time.
  • Relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Limit activity for the next day or two.
  • Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket.
  • After 24 hours, rinse with your mouth with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Do not drink from a straw for the first 24 hours.
  • Do not smoke, which can inhibit healing.
  • Eat soft foods, such as soup, pudding, yogurt, or applesauce the day after the extraction. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
  • When lying down, prop your head with pillows. Lying flat may prolong bleeding.
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth, and brush your tongue, but be sure to avoid the extraction site. Doing so will help prevent infection.

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