Tooth extraction is one of the most unpleasant dental procedures you can have. However, they are routine dental procedures, and your dentist may do several daily extractions.
The best way to prepare for tooth extraction is to understand the procedure, including what to do before, during, and after the procedure. One thing that people often wonder about is when to stop using gauze after tooth extraction.
In this article, you’ll learn when to stop using gauze after tooth extraction as well as other aftercare tips.
Before telling you when to stop using gauze after tooth extraction, let’s first talk about what to expect from tooth extraction.
A tooth extraction is the process of removing a tooth from your mouth. Any one of your teeth may need to be extracted for many reasons.
As mentioned, tooth extraction is a routine dental procedure many people experience at least once. While wisdom teeth removal is the likely reason you’ll ever need a tooth extraction, there are several other reasons why people undergo this procedure.
Tooth extraction can happen for many reasons, including:
- Infection caused by tooth decay
- Tooth overcrowding
- Gum disease
Here’s what the tooth extraction process is like.
The tooth extraction process involves oral surgery. Whether or not your teeth need extracting is decided by you or your dentist during a dental checkup or consultation. You’ll then be scheduled for your surgery at a later date.
On the day of your surgery, you’ll be given local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth being extracted and prevent pain. However, depending on the nature of the tooth being extracted, you may be either sedated or given general anesthesia. This is more common for surgeries for impacted teeth and wisdom teeth. Your dentist will let you know this beforehand.
After the extraction, your dentist will give you clear instructions on post-care. Post-care is the most important part of the process, as it will determine how the extraction area will heal and prevent complications such as infections.
You’ll most likely be prescribed pain medication after oral surgery to help manage any pain. However, the pain should subside after a day or so. You may also be advised not to eat certain foods or to avoid smoking and drinking through a straw. Not following your dentist’s instructions may cause dry socket, a painful condition where a blood clot fails to form on the tooth extraction socket.
One thing to note is that after your tooth extraction, the site of extraction will continue to bleed for a certain amount of time. Your dentist will send you home with gauze in your mouth and additional gauze to change out as your mouth keeps bleeding. But when will your mouth stop bleeding? Let’s figure out when to stop using gauze after tooth extraction.
In general, bleeding should stop about an hour or two after your surgery. However, a little oozing may continue for several hours.
As a rule of thumb, you should keep gauze on the extraction area for 30 to 45 minutes until the bleeding stops. If you see that the bleeding persists after 45 minutes with the gauze, put in new gauze and press firmly for another 45 minutes. Repeat until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding has stopped, do not place a new gauze pack in your mouth.
Blood clot formation should take two to three hours, eliminating the need for gauze. However, if you notice that you’re still bleeding quite a bit from the surgical site after three hours, instead of continuing with the gauze pack, you should contact your dentist and let them know.
Gauze is only a minor part of post-extraction care. You must do other things to ensure you properly heal after tooth extraction surgery.
To help you out, here are some additional tips for tooth extraction aftercare:
- Avoid spitting after tooth extraction surgery. Spitting creates suction in your mouth, and that pressure can dislodge your blood clot. Instead, if you need to spit, you should let it dribble out of your mouth. As uncomfortable as this may be, it is less uncomfortable than a dry socket!
- Be careful when rinsing your mouth after extraction. The extraction site is still sensitive, and vigorous rinsing may dislodge the blood clot. You should refrain from rinsing entirely in the first 24 hours and rinse gently with saltwater after to avoid anything getting stuck in the extraction site.
- If you experience swelling after the surgery, apply a cold compress to the area for 10 minutes. If you still feel swelling, alternate with 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off until the swelling has gone down.
- Take the pain medication your dentist instructs you to take. Take the medication ASAP after your surgery, even if you don’t feel pain right away, as it could be because your mouth is still numb. Better yet, take approved pain medication before surgery to minimize the pain afterward.
- Be sure to brush and floss as normal after surgery, but avoid disrupting the extraction area.
Tooth extraction can be scary, but if you follow your dentist’s instructions, the surgery and healing are relatively quick. Hopefully, you now understand when to stop using gauze after tooth extraction and how to care for your mouth after oral surgery.
If you think that you may need a tooth extraction or other dental care, contact Shelburne Village Dental today.