So you need to have a tooth extraction. Maybe it’s because your wisdom teeth have become impacted and need to be removed, or it’s for a different reason. Whatever the cause, your thoughts turn more toward the aftercare than the actual surgery itself.
Here’s the truth: yes, the recovery from a tooth extraction can be painful. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with this pain safely and effectively to avoid severe discomfort.
Here at Grace Dental Group, our staff, including our provider Woo Young Lee, DDS, wants to help you avoid pain and discomfort before, during, and after any procedure. That’s why we work hard to make sure all of our patients feel prepared for the effects of dental surgery by being armed with the best tools for the job.
Tooth extraction pain 101
As you might imagine, having a tooth pulled would be incredibly painful if it weren’t for sedation. Sedation of some kind is necessary for this procedure. In some cases, patients only need local anesthesia, which creates numbness in the extraction area while still allowing you to be awake.
In many cases, however, general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep for the entire procedure, may need to be used. It’s critical to discuss the cost, the effects, and the benefits of all the options available to you before making the best decision for your procedure.
After the procedure is over, you probably won’t feel discomfort for a while because of the anesthesia. But after a few hours, you will begin to feel pain in the extraction site. So, how should you handle it?
Ways to handle tooth extraction pain
Tooth extraction pain shouldn’t be something you have to just grin and bear. Here are some of the best ways to treat your pain at home after removing your tooth.
1. Pain medication (prescription)
Prescription pain medications are sometimes given due to a tooth extraction, but this isn’t always the case. If you are given a prescription for this type of medication, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential for misuse. It’s also necessary that you avoid relying on these drugs to help you through the majority of your pain, as you likely won’t receive a refill.
2. Pain medication (over-the-counter)
In many cases, post-surgical pain requires over-the-counter medications like NSAIDs. You may receive a prescription for a stronger type of drug that is usually over-the-counter, such as prescription ibuprofen. This medication will likely help relieve early experiences of pain post-surgery.
3. Cold/warm compresses
Putting an ice pack or cold compress on your cheek is a great way to deal with pain early. However, you shouldn’t only rely on the cold, as this could lead to greater discomfort. You will eventually want to switch to using warm compresses as well.
4. Prop yourself up
Don’t allow yourself to lie down — especially on the side of the extraction — while you’re resting. Propping yourself up with a pillow, even while sleeping, is a great way to diminish pain after your surgery.
5. Follow the advice of your oral surgeon
You will also likely receive rules for your post-surgical recovery. This might include washing your mouth, not eating certain foods, and taking medication on a specific schedule. Make sure you adhere to these to avoid any unnecessary discomfort.
You can minimize pain after a tooth extraction
It’s clear that tooth extractions aren’t comfortable procedures, nor is the recovery from them comfortable. But it’s easy to manage your pain if you follow the rules laid out for you and take the necessary precautions and medications.