It’s a simple fact. The human mouth is full of bacteria. This can become a problem if you’re having a tooth pulled.  It’s important to be aware of the possibility of infection if you have a wisdom tooth extraction or tooth removal. More importantly, you need to know what to do to avoid an infection. There are several things that you can do to limit your risk.

Support Healing
Whether you’re having a simple extraction or a wisdom tooth extraction, having a tooth pulled can be stressful for you and your body. To support the healing process, be kind to yourself. In the 24 hours following the extraction, rest. Bending, lifting or moving around a lot can increase bleeding, swelling and pain. Instead of dashing about, relax. Prop your head up on a pillow to help control the bleeding and use ice packs to minimize swelling. Take the medications that your dentist prescribed as directed. After all, a dose of antibiotics can be just what the doctor ordered if you want to reduce your risk of experiencing a tooth extraction infection.

Encourage Clotting
After a tooth extraction, a clot forms in the empty socket that shields the exposed nerves and tissues as the site heals. To encourage clotting, the dentist will give you a piece of gauze to bite down on. Leave it in place for at least an hour. If bleeding continues, switch to a new piece of gauze and continue to bite down. Change the gauze every half hour or so until the bleeding halts. You may also find it helpful to bite down on a moistened black tea bag. The tannic acids in the tea can support the clotting process.

Protect the Clot
Once the clot forms, it protects the tooth extraction site. Dislodging it too soon can increase your risk of complications, including infection. Therefore, protecting the clot is a priority. Don’t poke or prod at the gap in your smile. Avoid sucking on anything or drinking through a straw. Avoid carbonated drinks and/or alcohol for 24 hours following extractions also.

Mind Your Menu
After a wisdom tooth extraction, what should be on the menu? Choose foods that deliver the macronutrients needed for healing without endangering the extraction site’s tender tissues. Ice cream and smoothies are great choices. They are soft and flavorful, and their chilly nature can soothe swelling. Scrambled eggs are both filling and full of protein. Cold or lukewarm soups can also provide useful nutrients with minimal strain. Basically, you should aim for foods that are soft and easy to chew while avoiding things that are hot, spicy or hard.  Don’t worry, it’s only for a few days.

Continue to Practice Good Dental Hygiene Carefully
Good dental hygiene is always important. You can resume brushing your teeth eight hours after your tooth is pulled. Be sure to proceed with caution and avoid the extraction site. After 24 hours, you can begin gentle rinsing with salt water to help keep the extraction site clean.

At Wekiva Dental, your comfort and well-being are important to us. When you need a wisdom tooth extraction or tooth removal procedure, we welcome your questions. We also provide a handy reference sheet with post-operative instructions and encourage you to call us if you have any concerns. To schedule an appointment, contact us today at 407-869-7333.