Extraction Recovery Tips

If you have to have a tooth extracted, you want to know how to best care for yourself after the procedure. Here are some helpful tips to keep you healthy and minimize your pain. 

Image of a forceps holding a tooth from an extraction dentist in Destrehan Louisiana

Keep Site Clean

One of the best ways to avoid complications after an extraction is to keep the surgical site clean. Countless bacteria live in your mouth, making it easy to develop an infection if left alone. When you eat, you break down food particles that can be left behind. The bacteria will feed on the food particles in your surgical site, which can lead to infection. 

To avoid this, you should gently brush your teeth after each time you eat. This will remove food particles from your mouth and keep the surgical site clean. You can gently swish your mouth to remove food particles when your extraction has healed more. 

Take Medication As Directed

Following your procedure, your dentist will prescribe medications to you. One of your prescriptions will likely be an antibiotic. You must take the antibiotics as directed. Even if you keep your surgical site clean, it is still possible to develop an infection. Taking antibiotics will limit your chances of infection post-surgery. Also, it is crucial that you take all of the antibiotics rather than leaving leftovers. 

Additionally, your dentist may give you painkillers to help with pain after your extraction. These medications will help to reduce your pain and inflammation. However, if you do not wish to take the prescribed medications, there are others you can take. Some over-the-counter medications will minimize the pain and swelling after your surgery. For example, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 

Avoid Strenuous Activity

In the days following your extraction, you should avoid any strenuous activity, such as biking or lifting heavy objects. You shouldn’t do anything that elevates your heart rate. This can increase your bleeding after your tooth extraction. In addition, when you perform such activities, it can lengthen your recovery time. 

Soft Foods

After your surgery, you will want to avoid any hard foods that might damage your surgical site. Things like chips, candy, or anything crunchy may hurt as you eat. Instead, it is best to eat foods that are soft. Soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt, and applesauce are a few examples of good foods to eat after surgery. Additionally, you may not want your food to be too hot either. High heat can be uncomfortable and damage the clot on your wound. 

No Straws

One of the recommendations that your dentist will give you is to avoid straws. When you use a straw, it utilizes a sucking motion that can pull the blood clot out of your mouth. This is a condition known as dry socket. Dry socket can be extremely painful and lengthen your recovery time. So avoid anything that mimics a sucking motion. 


Another helpful tip for a speedy recovery is using ice. If you place it on the jaw of the extraction site, you can help reduce the swelling and inflammation. This not only speeds your recovery, but it can also minimize your pain.