What to do directly after a problematic tooth has been removed
Extracting a tooth is nearly always a last resort. This procedure can be used where a tooth has badly decayed or is broken to the point where a filling or crown would not be practical and wouldn’t offer any significant benefit if carried out.
There is no getting away with the fact that extracting a tooth requires invasive dental treatment. Some teeth come out relatively easily whilst others, such as impacted wisdom teeth are often more problematic and may even require hospitalisation in order to extract them.
Whatever the nature of the treatment though, it is important for patients of the Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre to remember that once the tooth has been removed, care needs to be taken in the area where it has been extracted.
As you would imagine, once a tooth has been removed, the area will bleed slightly. The first step is to stop this. This is done by placing a piece of clean gauze over the area and asking you to bite on it for a short time. Not only will this absorb the initial blood but will encourage a blood clot to form which will fill the cavity that has been left. This is an important part in the recovery process as this blood clot protects the cavity and will eventually allow it to heal fully.
Care at home
One of the most important things to do at home is to take care not to dislodge the blood clot. If this happens very soon after leaving our Epsom dental clinic, the likelihood is that it will bleed again and, using either the spare piece of sterile gauze we provide you with or, if not to hand, a clean handkerchief or similar, start to repeat the process. If the clot is dislodged and is not bleeding, you may well be left with a ‘dry socket’. Although this may eventually heal on its own, it can be painful and feel quite similar to a toothache. Even if the pain is not too bad, we do recommend that you contact us. In many cases we can help to resolve the problem by replacing the missing clot using a special type of dressing.
Because a blood clot is not very strong it can be dislodged if we simply return to our usual routine. There are a number of things that we can, and should, do in order to make sure that it remains in place.
First of all, do not use a toothbrush in this area. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to keep it clean though and we recommend that you use a warm (but not hot) saline solution which you gently tip over the area and allow it to fall from your mouth. You should neither ‘swill’ the solution or spit afterwards as these violent actions could cause the clot to fall out.
As time goes on and the clot becomes more established, you will be able to start bruising the area, albeit very gently and with a toothbrush that has soft bristles.