1. Eat a Soft Food Diet
A nutrient-rich diet provides after a tooth extraction your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to promote cell renewal and wound healing. However, it is vital to avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy foods during your recovery to minimize irritation to the empty tooth socket.
Eating a soft food diet allows you to get the nutrition you need without damaging the soft tissue around your surgical site. For the first few days following your procedure, fruit smoothies, lukewarm blended soup or broth, yogurt, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, mashed avocado, and soft fish, like tilapia or Alaskan Pollock are excellent and nutritious options.
2. Avoid Using a Straw or Smoking
Drinking through a straw or smoking creates negative pressure in your mouth, which can dislodge the blood clot that forms in the tooth’s socket. If the blood clot is dislodged, you are at risk of developing a painful condition called a dry socket can lead to severe infections, deteriorate jaw bone, and damage nerves.
3. Cold Therapy
Post-surgical swelling can last for up to a week after your tooth extraction, peaking around day three. Excessive swelling can hinder the healing process, extending your recovery time.
Manage swelling by applying a cold pack to the affected side of your face intermittently for 15 minutes at a time. The cold not only slows blood flow to decrease swelling, but it also numbs the area, reducing your discomfort. Cold therapy is typically only effective for the first 48 hours after surgery.
4. Use Over-the-Counter Medications
Once the anesthesia from the extraction wears off, you may feel some discomfort at the surgical site. While the discomfort should pass after several days, you can manage painful symptoms with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
Do not use medications for more than three days consecutively, and take the dosage recommended by the manufacturer. If the pain persists, it may be a symptom of an underlying issue, such as an infection or dry socket, and you should contact your dentist immediately.
5. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Although you can’t brush or floss the extraction site for one to two days after the procedure, you can remove food debris and prevent infection by rinsing with a salt water solution made with a teaspoon of table salt dissolved in a cup of warm water. Gently swish the solution in your mouth morning, evening, and after eating.
Continue to brush and floss your remaining teeth twice per day. But avoid rinsing with alcohol-based mouthwashes to prevent irritation to the tooth socket.