How to Care for a Recent Tooth Extraction

iQuanti: Taking good care of your teeth is important for the health of your mouth and gums, as well as the rest of your body. But sometimes tooth decay, a tooth infection or overcrowding can mean teeth must be removed in order to maintain the health of your mouth.

Tooth extraction, done by a dentist or oral surgeon, is a quick outpatient procedure to remove a tooth or teeth that have or are causing problems. If you're having a tooth extraction, it's important to understand what will happen during the procedure, how much tooth extractions cost, and how to care for your teeth afterward.

Tips for caring for a tooth extraction

Once your tooth is extracted, you'll need a few days to recover. Here are a few tips for ensuring the recovery goes smoothly and avoiding infection.

  • Apply an ice pack to your cheek directly after the procedure to help reduce swelling. Use the ice for 10 minutes at a time.
  • Leave in the gauze (placed by the dentist) for three to four hours, or until the pad is soaked with blood. Bite down on the gauze to reduce bleeding and to help clots form.
  • If your dentist prescribes any medications, be sure to take them as directed to help with pain and avoid infection. You can also ask your dentist about taking over-the-counter medication, if needed.
  • Take at least 24 hours to recover. Within that 24 hours,
    • Don't smoke
    • Don't use a straw
    • Don't rinse
    • Don't eat or drink hot foods or liquids
    • Spit gently
    • Eat soft foods, such as yogurt, pudding and applesauce
  • Use a pillow to prop up your head when you lie down, which can help with swelling and bleeding.
  • Avoid the extraction site when brushing and flossing. When you brush, be sure to do so gently for the first few days.

After the first 24 hours, your dentist may instruct you to rinse your mouth. Gently rinse four times per day with a warm water and salt mixture.

You may experience some pain, swelling or bruising immediately after the extraction, which is normal. Use ice and painkillers to help control symptoms.

If you're experiencing pain that won't go away for several days, signs of an infection, or bleeding that won't stop, call your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment. Infection symptoms may be fever, pain, and pus or drainage from the incision.

How much does a tooth extraction cost?

A simple extraction typically costs between $75-200 per tooth. However, costs could go up if you have an impacted tooth or need heavier anesthesia.

If your tooth is impacted, the cost could be closer to $800 or more, even as high as $4,000 per tooth. An impacted tooth is one that hasn't come in, sometimes because it doesn't have room or may be coming in the wrong direction or position, but typically reasons are unknown. Wisdom teeth are ones that are most often impacted.

Source: iQuanti, Inc.