Below is some simple advice for when a tooth has been taken out, in order to encourage a speedy recovery of the wound. Most importantly do not rinse/swill out your mouth for 3 days. Rinsing can wash away the blood clot and lead to further bleeding and delayed healing. Eating or drinking is fine once the anaesthetic has worn off which normally takes 2 to 3 hours. Whilst the area remains numb there is a risk of biting on your lips without being aware of it. Start with soft foods initially; you will find out yourself what is comfortable given the soreness of the wound.
For pain control it can be a good idea to take painkillers like Ibuprofen or Paracetamol before the anaesthetic wears off. Ibuprofen would be the painkiller of choice as it has an anti-inflammatory side to it as well. Avoid aspirin based painkillers as they will encourage the wound to start bleeding again. Always check the medication to see if it is suitable for you and if it does not contain anything you might be allergic to. An ice pack placed over the area will reduce pain and future swelling. Avoid smoking as it increases the risk of subsequent infections and delays the healing process.
A small degree of blood oozing from the wound will occur the first 24 hours. If left alone, the vast majority of the extraction wounds heal beautifully without any further action. If however fresh bleeding occurs in large quantities, you should apply pressure pack to the site. This is achieved by placing a tightly rolled, clean handkerchief directly over the site and biting hard. Pressure should be applied for 15-30 minutes after which you carefully remove the pack, trying not the pull out the clot which will now have started to form. Repeat if the bleeding restarts.
If the pain suddenly increases after 2-3 days, combined with a nasty taste in your mouth then you have almost certainly developed what is called a ‘dry socket’. This occurs when your body has not been able to establish a blood clot and you are left with an infected, dry bone wound. This is exceptionally painful and it unfortunately takes quite a while to recover from. Contact the surgery immediately if you have these symptoms as we can speed up the recovery with specific antibiotics. NB: Of all the above instructions the most important one is NOT TO RINSE for 3 days.