Though aftercare may differ based on the type of extraction and location of your tooth, you can usually expect to heal in a matter of 7 to 10 days. It’s important to do what you can to keep the blood clot in place in the tooth socket. Dislodging it can cause what’s called dry socket, which can be painful.
There are a few things you can try to speed up healing time:
- Take painkillers as prescribed.
- Leave the initial gauze pad in place until about three to four hours after the procedure.
- Apply an ice bag to the affected area immediately following the procedure, but only for 10 minutes at a time. Leaving ice packs on for too long can result in tissue damage.
- Rest for 24 hours following the operation and limit your activity for the next couple of days.
- To avoid dislodging the blood clot, don’t rinse, spit, or use a straw for 24 hours after the procedure.
- After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with a salt solution, made with half a teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces warm water.
- Avoid smoking.
- When sleeping, prop your head up with pillows, as lying flat can prolong healing.
- Continue brushing and flossing your teeth to prevent infection, though avoid the extraction site.
What foods you can eat after your tooth extraction
During the healing process, you’ll want to eat soft foods, such as:
You can add smoothies to your diet, but you must eat them with a spoon. As your extraction site heals, you’ll be able to incorporate more solid foods into your diet, but it’s recommended to continue with this soft foods diet for a week after your extraction.