Following self-care guidelines after tooth extraction can help ensure that you heal as quickly as possible. Easton, MD, family dentists Dr.tooth extraction Irving Phillips and Dr. Wade Dressler explain what you should do if you've had a tooth extracted.

Reduce pain and swelling

Pain and swelling can be reduced by applying ice packs to your face and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Apply ice for 20 minutes, then remove the ice pack for at least 20 minutes before reapplying it.

Use gauze pads to stop bleeding

Before you leave our Easton office, you'll be given a supply of gauze pads. Biting down on the gauze applies pressure to the area, which will slow and stop the bleeding. Replace the gauze with a fresh pad if bleeding continues longer than 30 minutes. Biting down on the gauze pads helps a blood clot form over the extraction area.

Take it easy

Strenuous activity should be avoided for the first 24 hours after a tooth extraction, as vigorous activity can cause or worsen bleeding.

Brush your teeth carefully

You can begin brushing your teeth the next day after your extraction. When you brush, stay away from the extraction site for two or three days.

Stay away from straws and cigarettes

The sucking motion required to drink from a straw or smoke a cigarette can cause a dry socket. Cigarette smoking can also delay healing.

Be alert for signs of a dry socket

Dry sockets aren't very common but can occur after tooth extractions. The painful condition occurs when the blood clot in your socket becomes dislodged, exposing the bone underneath. If you have a dry socket, you may notice increased pain a few days after your extraction. In some cases, you can actually see the white bone in your socket if you look in the mirror. Dry sockets can be very painful. Luckily, they can be easily treated with a medicated dressing that's changed at our office every few days.

Following these self-care guidelines is the key to a trouble-free recovery from a tooth extraction. Are you concerned about a problem tooth? Call Easton, MD, family dentists Drs. Irving Phillips and Wade Dressler at (410) 822-4310 to schedule an appointment.