When Can You Brush Your Teeth After A Tooth Extraction?

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There are many reasons for a tooth extraction. An infection, crowded teeth, or excessive tooth decay are some of the most common dental issues that may require a tooth to be removed from its socket. At Gibson Dental Care, the goal is to keep patients’ teeth intact as much as possible and a tooth extraction is generally our last resort for treatment.

Our professional dental office in Lancaster, PA offers dental exams that can determine whether you need a tooth extraction or another course of treatment. We also offer emergency dental care for patients who may need an emergency tooth extraction. Read on to learn about the tooth extraction healing process and how to perform certain activities like eating and brushing teeth after a tooth extraction.

Types of tooth extractions

There are two types of tooth extractions:

  1. Simple extractions: Performed under local anesthesia, these extractions are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth.

  2. Surgical extractions: Performed under general anesthesia, these extractions are performed when a tooth is impacted or is in the back of the mouth, which is hard to access. An incision allows us to lift up gum tissue to safely remove the tooth.

Tooth extraction aftercare and recovery time

The time it takes to recover after a tooth extraction varies, from a few days to a few weeks. It’s normal for a patient to experience some bleeding at the extraction site. Swelling is also possible and icing the area may help it to go away. After day one of recovery, moist heat can be used to relieve pain and discomfort.

Brushing teeth after an extraction

A blood clot forms when a tooth is extracted. This is an important part of the healing process as it prevents excessive bleeding from occurring. It’s important this clot stays in place following tooth extraction. Avoid rinsing the mouth, brushing near the extraction site, and eating foods that require chewing for at least 24 hours. Patients usually can resume tooth brushing and flossing on day 2 of recovery, but should refrain from brushing on the extraction site for the first three days to ensure your clot stays in place.

How to eat after tooth extraction

During tooth extraction healing, you should begin with soft and liquid foods only. Avoid eating hard foods as they can get trapped in the open socket. Some examples of foods that you can eat immediately after a tooth extraction include:

  • Yogurt

  • Smoothies

  • Applesauce

  • Blended soups

  • Mashed potatoes

  • Pudding

  • Ice cream

For the first 24 to 48 hours, consume liquids or soft foods. Avoid alcohol, acidic, and spicy foods until your extraction site is healed. Don’t smoke for at least 3 full days after extraction as this increases your risk of dry socket, which occurs when your blood clot fails to develop or dislodges and can cause severe pain.

As you recover, you can slowly re-incorporate other food into your diet. On day 3, try semi-soft foods such as instant oatmeal or scrambled eggs before moving on to solid foods such as chicken, vegetables, or soft fruit.

Learn if you need a tooth extraction with a dental exam

At Gibson Dental Care, our experienced staff can examine your teeth and gums to determine if you need a tooth extraction as well as identify any other type of oral concerns. We will do whatever we can to preserve a tooth and always consider extraction as a final option. When you’re experiencing tooth pain, call Gibson Dental Care in Lancaster, PA to schedule a dental exam today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.