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From time to time, you may have to have a tooth removed, or extracted. An extraction may be required if a tooth is too damaged by decay or trauma to be saved. Wisdom teeth issues may require exaction; and an extraction may be necessary if there are too many teeth in your mouth. Additionally, some orthodontic procedures may have to wait until one or more teeth have been removed. When the extraction site has healed, you and your dentist can discuss tooth-restoration options. But in order to get to that point, you will need to heal properly.

You should be gentle on the extraction site for the first 24 hours after your procedure. You should stick with liquids or cool, soft foods, and avoid smoking, using a straw or chewing on that side of your mouth. You do not want to rupture or remove the blot clot that has formed in the socket. That clot is protecting the exposed bone and nerves from infection. Not only can smoking cause your clot to rupture, but tobacco will slow your body’s healing process.

After the pain subsides, you may feel like brushing your teeth. However, for the first 24 hours, you should gently rinse the area with a warm salt water solution. You can brush your other teeth.

If you experience swelling, a cold compress or ice pack can relieve the problem. You can also use an over-the-counter pain reliever for any discomfort you may be feeling. If your dentist has prescribed an antibiotic or a pain medication, be sure to take the medication exactly as it has been prescribed.

The entire healing process takes about six weeks. However, if you are still in pain or are bleeding after the first 24 hours, you should contact your dentist.

If you have a tooth that has been giving you trouble, or if it is just time for your regular exam and cleaning, we would love to see you in our office. You can make an appointment to see Dr. Seth Rumley at Midtown Dental in Raleigh, North Carolina, by calling 919-847-8074. We look forward to seeing you soon.