September 1, 2021

Post-operative instructions on caring for your socket

The blood clot that has formed in the tooth socket is crucial for healing. Try not to disturb this jelly-like blob of blood for at least 3 hours. This means no eating, drinking or rinsing for 3 hours post surgery. It is normal for the socket to weep a little blood during this time. If the bleeding is profuse, take a new gauze cotton square (or handkerchief) and bite down for a further 30 minutes. If the blood clot comes out, try and pop it back in and bite it into place. It is the plug.

Sit still. Even mild exercise will cause your blood to pump harder and prolong the bleeding. Do not keep swapping the gauze cotton over for fresh ones. Just use the same piece, for up to an hour if necessary. Any concerns, then ring the surgery or after hours on 0473374166.

When the anaesthetic wears off you might want to take some paracetamol or ibuprofen. Do not take aspirin for pain relief as this increases the bleeding time. Always read the label, or ask you pharmacist if you are taking other medications.

Eat on the other side for a week. Soft foods are gentle on the gums. Keep your nutrition up as you will need it for healing. Bananas are great.

For the next 5 days, after meals rinse with warm salt water (1 teaspoon per cup). This gentle mouth bath will help float out any food gathered in the socket. Be gentle. Vigorous rinsing may upset the blood clot. Do not suck on the socket. Do not use mouth rinses (eg Listerine) as they will sting, and delay healing.

Still brush your teeth. Plaque is the enemy. Do not allow bacteria to gather and infect your socket. Gently brush all your teeth as normal. You do not need to brush the socket.

It may hurt for a few days, and gradually get better. It takes many months until the healing is complete. If you experience pain that worsens with time, it may be that your socket has become dry or infected. Call Bytes Dental for a review appointment. Sockets become dry or infected when the blood clot has been disrupted, and food falls into the open hole. Poor oral health, or a dry mouth will also delay the healing. Smokers are at higher risk of these complications. Do not smoke or drink alcohol for 24 hours.

May your healing be swift. And may the floss be with you.