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3 Things You Can Do to Make Recovering from a Tooth Extraction Easier

Posted by Lone Star Dental Care Aug 01, 2022

Whether you’re prepping for a wisdom tooth extraction or you need to remove a severely damaged tooth, the truth is that tooth extractions can be a good thing. Extractions remove wisdom teeth (and help you avoid the complications of impacted teeth), eliminate pain associated with a severely decayed or damaged tooth, and help you create your dream smile while preparing for dentures or implants.

That being said, it’s common to feel uneasy about an upcoming extraction. Dr. Afshin Vahadi and Dr. Vafa Mirshams want you to know that we offer sedation dentistry at Lone Star Dental Care, so you’re as comfortable as possible.

Below, we share three things you can do to make recovering from a tooth extraction easier.

1. Manage pain 

This tip may seem like an obvious first choice, but we want you to know there are many ways to manage pain and discomfort after a tooth extraction. 

Pain management options include:

  • Prescription medication, if needed
  • Over-the-counter pain-relief medication
  • Cold therapy
  • Facial cold compresses (especially ideal for those with swelling after wisdom teeth extractions)

It’s important to rest and avoid strenuous exercise during your recovery. Because lack of sleep and stress can exacerbate pain, taking it easy can be a good way to help manage pain, too. 

2. Stick with a soft-food diet 

Hard and crunchy food can be problematic for a few reasons:

  • Hard or crunchy pieces of food can poke your extraction site and cause pain
  • Pieces of food can get stuck in your extraction site
  • Hard food is more likely to dislodge your protective blood clot (which increases your risk of dry socket)

For these reasons, we advise all of our post-extraction patients to follow a soft-food diet after a tooth extraction. Eating a soft-food diet allows you to eat without the risk of crunchy food dislodging your protective blood clot.

Soft food includes soups, smoothies, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, gelatin, broth, and yogurt. Focus on nutrient-dense foods to fortify your body as it heals. Foods rich in protein and vitamins help support wound healing and cellular renewal. Bone broth, eggs, cottage cheese, and soft flaky fish (like tilapia) can help you add enough protein to your soft-food diet.

A tip on temperature: for the first few days following your extraction, avoid hot soups as they can irritate your wounds. Choose lukewarm, blended soups instead.

3. Avoid straws

While hydration is always essential for good oral health, it's even more important after your extraction. That’s because drinking water flushes away bacteria and debris from your mouth, which helps to keep your mouth clean and prevent infections. Drinking fluids, such as water or broth, can help you reach your daily hydration goals, but don’t use a straw.

Drinking through a straw creates a vacuum pressure in your mouth that can dislodge the blood clot at your extraction site, and if this blood clot is removed, it exposes your nerves to hot and cold temperatures, which can be painful. Not only this, but dislodging the blood clot increases your risk of dry socket. Left untreated, dry socket can lead to severe infections, damaged nerves, and damaged jaw bone.

Planning for your tooth extraction

Depending on your situation, you may need to schedule a few days at home to recover, especially if you have a complex wisdom tooth removal. If possible, planning ahead can help ensure a smooth recovery if you have all of your necessary supplies already at home. These include:

  • Cold compresses
  • Soft foods in your fridge, or even better, already prepared meals
  • OTC pain-relief medication
  • Tumblers and cups without straws

As family dentists, we know that most people don’t look forward to an extraction, but rest assured, we’re on a mission to make your entire visit as comfortable as possible. If you’d like to schedule your extraction or review your sedation options, including IV sedation and oral sedation, give our Frisco, Texas, office a call or use our online scheduling tool. 

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