Whether due to a cavity, dental trauma, or overcrowding, your dentist may recommend tooth extraction to remove a problem in your mouth. This is a routine procedure that can restore your oral health. If you have never had this treatment before, you may wonder how to care for your mouth afterward. Below are several strategies for what you should and shouldn't do to heal quickly and minimize discomfort.


Rest and apply ice.

After your tooth extraction, you may experience swelling and discomfort.  This is due to inflammation that sets in as part of the healing process.  Reducing the inflammation will also reduce the pain and swelling.  Intermittently applying ice to the outside of your cheek in the area of the extraction and taking an anti-inflammatory are good strategies for dealing with the post surgery inflammation.  It is also a good idea to avoid strenuous activity and exercise for several days so that your body can use its resources to start healing the extraction sites.

tooth extraction

Maintain your oral hygiene.

While your mouth may be tender after a tooth extraction, you should continue to brush and floss carefully to avoid an infection. Navigate around the extraction site slowly and follow any recommendations from your dentist. Avoid brushing the area directly and do not swish, or spit. You should also avoid using mouthwash that contain alcohol because it can irritate the tissue.  On the fourth day after surgery you can start rinsing your mouth with a solution of warm water and salt. Repeat this every four hours to clean the surgical site.


Smoke or use straws.

The chemicals in cigarettes can prevent your body from maintaining a blood clot at the extraction site. As a result, smoking after the procedure means you are more likely to develop a condition known as dry socket. This can also occur if you suck on a straw, which can pull the blood clot out. When this happens, the underlying bone is exposed, causing discomfort and increasing your risk of infection. Other things that can cause a dry socket and should be avoided include citrus juices, carbonated beverages, and alcohol.  Refrain from these activities for at least 72 hours following your tooth extraction.

Eat crunchy, solid foods.

After your appointment, the numbing effects of the procedure can last several hours. During this period and the following days, stick to a diet of soft foods. This will eliminate discomfort and give your mouth time to heal properly without dislodging any stitches. Dentists recommend smoothies, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and soups for the best results.


If you're looking for a caring dentist that will monitor you before, during, and after a tooth extraction, contact Keen Dental Care in Columbia, MO. This dental office provides comprehensive oral care for patients of all ages throughout Boone County. They provide a range of general dentistry and cosmetic procedures, including teeth whitening, veneers, and root canals. Call (573) 875-5336 to schedule an appointment. Visit them online for more information about their services.