If you are like most dental patients facing a tooth extraction, you may have questions concerning your dental aftercare. We will answer the following questions – “What should I expect following tooth extraction?”, “How long will it take my socket to heal?” “What foods can I eat following tooth extraction?” and “Do I sleep with gauze after tooth extraction?” We will answer each of these questions, along with providing information on the necessary hygiene practices needed following a tooth extraction.

Do I Sleep with Gauze After Tooth Extraction?

Answering Your Question, Do I Sleep with Gauze After Tooth Extraction?

Most patients experience facial swelling and pain following an extraction. Most of the swelling and pain will diminish within a day or two. For the first 24 hours following a tooth extraction, keep your head elevated higher than your heart. After the first 24 hours, you may be able to resume most normal activities; however, you should avoid strenuous activities until your extraction site has healed.

How Long Will It Take My Socket to Heal?

Within one or two weeks, the area of the extraction should be healed. You may notice an indentation or hole at the extraction area for several months. All daily activities can be resumed within a week or two. Talk with your dentist to determine how long you should wait before participating in strenuous activities. While you are resting, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids to promote healing.

What Foods Can I Eat Following Tooth Extraction?

After you have had a tooth extraction, you should limit yourself to a liquid diet the first week. Towards the end of the week, you can begin introducing soft foods into your diet like eggs, pasta, or pancakes. Later in the second week, you can start consuming regular food. If you eat solid food too quickly, it can increase your pain and may increase the risk of infection. Avoid using a straw during the first two weeks following your tooth extraction to help prevent dry socket.

So How Exactly Do I Sleep with Gauze After Tooth Extraction?

Gauze packs are used to absorb blood and should be changed every 30 minutes or whenever needed. Whenever oozing occurs, bite down on the gauze to apply pressure to help staunch the bleeding. Once the bleeding stops, gauze can be removed. Bleeding typically stops within three to four hours of your tooth extraction. Gauze should never be left in overnight. If you take a nap, ask to be aroused every 20 minutes so you can check the gauze. Following these instructions will help your body form a blood clot and speed up your healing time.

How Can I Manage My Pain?

If your dentist prescribes pain medication, follow the instructions. Pain is much easier to manage if pain medications are given before the pain has an opportunity to take hold. Typically, prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medicines, along with opioid pain medication is prescribed. Icing your jaw several times a day can help to minimize inflammation and reduce pain naturally.

Oral Hygiene Practices to Follow After Tooth Extraction

You should not rinse your mouth, spit or brush your teeth during the first 24 hours to help prevent dry socket. You can begin brushing your teeth 24 hours following your tooth extraction. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to encourage healing. The saline solution kills excess bacteria to help prevent infection. When brushing your teeth, avoid brushing over the empty socket as this can disturb the formation of the blood clot. For more control and best results, opt for an electric toothbrush. Concentrate on each tooth to remove the most bacteria, plaque, and food particles. Rinse your mouth with warm water, but do not spit. Instead, open your mouth and allow the water to drain from your mouth.

The inflammation and pain experienced following tooth extraction should gradually diminish over the following days. If pain worsens or inflammation increases, contact your dentist or oral surgeon as this can be a sign of a dry socket.

Do I sleep with gauze after tooth extraction is a common question every dental patient has? At your consultation, discuss any concerns that you may have and ask questions to ensure you understand the procedure and what you should expect following tooth extraction. Remember, knowledge is power and can mean the difference between a fast and easy recovery and a long, painful recovery.