4 Tips To Prepare For A Tooth Extraction

Posted on: 29 January 2015

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If you are going to have a tooth extraction or wisdom teeth removal and you are not sure what to expect, or the whole process makes you nervous, there are ways to prepare for the recovery. Knowing what to expect can make you more comfortable and help speed up the healing process.

Buy The Right Foods

After your extraction, you may not want to go shopping, because it is common to feel tired. Before your appointment, go and buy a few soft foods that you enjoy, since you may not be able to eat regular foods for a few days.

Pudding, yogurt, ice cream, flavored gelatin and sherbet are good options. If you are concerned about calories and/or nutrition, opt for fruit sorbets, and consider picking up a few containers of Greek yogurt. Of course, you can supplement processed foods with your own treats by blending fresh or frozen fruits, until they are soft enough to eat without chewing.

Your favorite soup recipe can be prepared the day before your appointment and frozen into microwavable portions. Mashed potatoes, shredded chicken, oatmeal, eggs and fish are some other foods that can prevent you from feeling deprived and are easy to consume. You may want to stay away from carbonated or highly acidic beverages, because both can increase irritation.

Eat Breakfast

The morning of your appointment, be sure to have breakfast. If you are not a big breakfast eater, have something with a little sugar, such as coffee, juice or tea. The sugar before your extraction can prevent dangerous drops in blood sugar that can happen with numbing medication. Furthermore, if you have dental anxiety, the sugar can reduce the likelihood of feeling lightheaded.

If your appointment is later in the day, or you are not sure how long you will stay in the waiting room, take a small container of juice with you to sip on. If you will be using a different form of anesthesia than Novocain, your dentist may have given you other advice on whether or not it is safe to consume any foods or beverages before your appointment.

Fill Prescriptions Promptly

After your extraction, you should go directly to the pharmacy if you need to fill a prescription, before your current numbing medication wears off. It is not uncommon to receive a prescription for ibuprofen after an extraction. To avoid the hassle, just take the equivalent dose in the over-the-counter (OTC) version that you may already have at home.

If you are given a prescription for a narcotic pain medication alone, ask your dentist if you can take OTC anti-inflammatory medications with the narcotic. You may experience pain or inflammation in the days following the extraction that is better alleviated by an anti-inflammatory medication.

Follow Dental Advice To The Letter

You will receive care instructions from the dentist or assistant after your extraction. If you cannot remember them, do not be afraid to call and ask. Much of the information provided can help you avoid complications after extractions. For example, drinking through a straw or smoking a cigarette will increase your chances of dry socket. No matter how careful you think you are, dry socket will likely happen if you do not follow the aftercare instructions. Dry socket will cause more pain and slow the healing of your extraction.

Your dentist may tell you to apply ice to the area for the first 24 hours, and moist heat thereafter. This is an easy tip to forget after the first day. If you continue placing ice on your cheek, you will notice a considerable increase in pain. Take an old plastic bottle, and fill it with hot tap water for a homemade hot water bottle. You should notice a quick decrease in any pain and swelling. Close the lid to the bottle tightly, and you can take your hot water bottle to bed without it leaking.

The right preparation and post-extraction care can make the process seamless. Following all your post-extraction instructions will improve your healing time and reduce the chance of complications.