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How You Should Clean Your Teeth after a Tooth Extraction

Can I Brush My Teeth After Tooth Extraction? A Comprehensive Guide

Going to the dreaded tooth extraction appointment is definitely not anybody’s favorite activity. Let’s face it, we all just want it over with as soon as possible. However, the story does not end after the tooth is pulled out. With a gauze pack placed in the mouth, you have to listen to the dentist narrate a bunch of instructions about what you should be doing next.

Most patients, however, often have their minds transfixed to the events that have just passed and often miss some of these vital instructions. Questions such as “can I brush my teeth after a tooth extraction?” usually come to mind late after the appointment.

Let’s attempt to answer some common queries following a tooth extraction to avoid troublesome complications.

What Happens To The Socket After The Tooth Is Removed?

"What happened to the hole that was created when I got my tooth extracted?"

Many patients find themselves asking this question when they recount their extraction experience. This empty socket takes time to heal, sometimes taking several weeks depending on each individual’s unique healing potential.

Here is a small but interesting tooth post-extraction healing guide:

The First 24 to 48 Hours: This time period is marked by the formation of a blood clot that fills the socket. The bleeding will cease, and your gums will start to grow.

Weeks 1 and 2: The size of the hole has significantly reduced by this time, and the gums have greatly healed to the point that if stitches were placed, the dentist usually removes them on day 7.

Weeks 3 and 4: The socket has been filled by bone, and a slight indentation can sometimes be felt.

What to Expect Following the Tooth Extraction

  1. Bleeding will continue as a minor oozing of blood for 1-2 days.
  2. Pain and discomfort that peaks in 6 hours and lasts for approximately 5 days.
  3. Slight swelling that peaks in 48 to 72 hours and decreases thereafter.
  4. Stiffness in the jaw area.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare Guide: The Do's and Dont's Following a Tooth Extraction

Here are some critical post-operative instructions to remember following an extraction:

Do's:

  1. The gauze that was placed in your mouth can be removed after 30-45 minutes. During this time, bite firmly down on it to stop the bleeding.
  2. After removing the pack, have ice cream without nuts.
  3. Apply ice packs in case of swelling for the first two days.
  4. Take lots of rest during the first day.
  5. Take the medicine and pain killer that was prescribed to you by the dental surgeon.
  6. Switch to a soft diet, such as ice cream, pasta, and soup.

Dont's:

  1. Avoid smoking.
  2. Avoid strenuous activity such as exercising for the next 3 days.
  3. Do not use a straw for the first 24 hours.
  4. Refrain from having hard, solid foods such as chips.
  5. Do not spit forcefully.

Cleaning Instructions after a Tooth Extraction

Following a tooth extraction, it is critical that we do not ignore the remaining teeth.

  1. Avoid brushing the wound site for the first 24 hours to avoid dislodging the blood clot. Brush the rest of the mouth softly and gently with a manual toothbrush. There are conflicting opinions regarding the use of a smart  toothbrush following an extraction. Some dentists believe you can resume brushing with your electric toothbrush after 24 hours at a low speed if you are able to control it well. However, others recommend using a sonic electric toothbrush two weeks after the surgery since most find it difficult to control the speed and strength of the device.
  2. Saltwater rinses are your best friends following a tooth extraction. Gently use a solution of salt mixed in lukewarm water to rinse your mouth but avoid swishing the solution in your mouth and spitting forcefully. Simply allow the rinse to flow out of your mouth under the force of gravity.
  3. Start using a mouthwash that contains 0.12% chlorhexidine 24 hours after the surgery as prescribed by the dentist. This will help reduce bacterial counts in the mouth.
  4. Remember to use a clean toothbrush. If you have not replaced the head of your electric toothbrush for 2-3 months, chances are enough bacteria have colonized the brush to cause infection and inefficient cleaning. Replace the head and make sure the bristles are soft and clean. Some individuals even use toothbrush sanitizers. Oclean’s UV toothbrush sanitizer utilizes UV rays to significantly reduce bacterial counts for adequate disinfection of your toothbrush.
Electric Toothbrush

 

What Happens If You Brush or Spit Too Hard?

The reason why dental surgeons do not want you brushing the wound site, spitting, or using a straw for the first 24 hours following an extraction is because of the risk of dislodging the blood clot that has formed. This would lead to a painful condition known as dry socket or alveolar osteitis.

This complication warrants a consultation with the dental surgeon, who will place a medicated gel to deal with the pain. Dry socket, however, heals on its own over a week.

The Takeaway

It is crucial that we follow all post-operative instructions provided by our dental surgeon to avoid bothersome complications from occurring. With around 6 billion bacteria, including over 700 species present in our mouth, properly brushing our teeth and tongue is essential to avoid infections from occurring. Oclean’s smart electric toothbrushes are practical devices that can significantly reduce bacterial counts in the oral cavity to help you keep your mouth disease-free. With efficient cleaning, you will hopefully not need to schedule another tooth extraction appointment in the future.

 *Cover image from Freepik@brgfx, we will delete it if constitutes infringement *

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