Author- Dr. Aditi Nanda
As defined by Sir Geoffrey Howe, "Extraction is the painless removal of the whole tooth /root with minimum to the investing tissues (hard and soft) so that the wound heals uneventfully".
But don't you wonder why more often than not, do complications arise post extraction, even when the job is perfectly done by the dental professional. Why do sockets keep bleeding? Why doesn't the wound heal? Why is there a post operative edema? And what's with the nasty Dry socket?
The answer to this is simple. It's because of the patient's lack of care and attention to that healing socket. Every patient, post extraction receives a set of very clear and to the point instructions that are crucial for uneventful healing. Clearly there's no rocket science to it. Yet, we see patients take those for granted. So let's once again lay out the do's and the don'ts for your sake.
Following are the post extraction instructions
- Keep and gently hold the moist gauze piece for at least 45 mins. This is done to stop the bleeding and stabilize the clot.
- Removal of gauze should be followed by consumption of ice cream or cold water. Low temperature foods make the vessels constrict and therefore further prevent bleeding.
- Patients should restrict to cold foods for one complete day post extraction. Hot, hard or spicy foods to be avoided for 5-6 more days and only soft and lukewarm foods should be consumed.
- No negative pressure has to be created for a minimum of 24 hours as this may dislodge the clot. Therefore we ask patients not to spit, suck or gargle during that time.
- Do not brush at the extraction site for at least 24 hours, post which, gentle brushing with soft bristle brush can be done.
- Use of alcohol containing mouthwashes has to be avoided as well.
- Consumption of carbonated drinks is NOT advised post extraction as the effervescence mechanically dislodges the clot and prevents healing.
- Patients should refrain from smoking or alcohol again for at least 5 days. The more, the better.
- After 24 hours patients are advised to do warm saline rinses 3-4 times a day. This reduces inflammation and aids in healing.
- Prescribed antibiotics and analgesic should be taken on time and as advised.
- Visit your dentist again in case of continuing bleed, severe sharp pain, or swelling.
- For cases with sutures, patients are asked to visit 7-10 days post extraction for suture removal.
These instructions, if followed meticulously ensure proper and timely healing and also reduces the chances of any complications post-extraction. Make sure you listen well to your dentist. After all, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
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