After the removal of wisdom teeth, large holes often remain in the gums and bone tissue of the alveolar ridge. The roots of the extracted tooth used to be located in this hole; in some cases, the hole may be the size of a molar. Most surgeons after tooth extraction "close" the holes with special sutures, but in some cases suture material is not used, then you may face some difficulties. Food debris can get stuck in these holes and get stuck there, and even rinsing your mouth with salt water does not always help to clean them of food debris successfully. Learn how to properly care for the socket of the extracted tooth and the gum - this will help prevent infection of the socket and complications in the healing process.
Part 1 of 3: How to care for a socket immediately after tooth extraction
Step 1. Ask your dental surgeon if he has stitched
If, after removal, the hole was sutured with suture material, food will not get into it. You may notice gray, black, blue, green, or yellow particles near the hole. This discoloration is natural and is part of the healing process.
Step 2. During the day, try not to contact the hole
Thoroughly brush and floss your mouth, but do not reach the adjacent teeth.
Step 3. For the first 48 hours, gently rinse your mouth with saline
On the first day, the oral cavity really needs to be rinsed, but very carefully.
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a glass of warm water. Mix the solution well.
- Rinse your mouth very carefully. Do not rinse your mouth too vigorously or spit out, just turn your head slightly from side to side or stir the solution a little in the mouth with your tongue.
- After rinsing, bend over the sink and simply open your mouth to let the solution pour into the sink. Don't spit.
- Your doctor may recommend rinsing with a solution of chlorhexidine bigluconate (Miramistin). It is a good antiseptic that kills bacteria in the mouth and is suitable for rinsing. To avoid side effects, it is better to dilute chlorhexidine with water in a 1: 1 ratio.
Step 4. Do not try to remove food debris from the socket of the extracted tooth with your fingers or any other means at hand
Also, do not try to pull food out of there with your tongue. In all these ways, you will only push the remnants of food and microorganisms deep into the hole, and this will greatly interfere with the healing process. Therefore, to clean the socket of the extracted tooth, try to rinse it with salt water.
Step 5. Stop smoking and use drinking straws
Even the slight pressure that is generated during suction can cause the blood clot in the socket to break away, leaving the socket dry and potentially exposed to infectious agents.
Part 2 of 3: How to rinse your mouth a day after tooth extraction
Step 1. Make a saline rinse
Salt water rinses are very helpful and effective in cleansing the well and removing food debris, and can help reduce pain and prevent inflammation.
- Mix 0.2 L of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Stir well to completely dissolve the salt in the water.
Step 2. Gently rinse the mouth with the resulting solution (until it runs out)
You can concentrate on the affected side of the jaw by rinsing more forcefully to better remove food debris and prevent inflammation.
Step 3. Rinse your mouth every 2 hours and after every meal
Be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly before bed. Taking care of the socket after extraction will help you keep it relatively clean, which will speed up the healing process.
Step 4. If necessary, you can use a syringe with a cannula
The use of a syringe helps to control the flow of water, which contributes to more effective cleaning of the extraction socket. However, it is worth noting that if an irrigator or a syringe is used incorrectly for washing, you can accidentally "wash" a blood clot from the hole, formed after tooth extraction and designed to protect the bone tissue of the hole from microorganisms and inflammation. Therefore, before you start using an irrigator in the area of the hole (or start rinsing it with a syringe), you should consult a dentist on this matter.
- Fill the syringe with warm water (you can also fill it with the saline solution discussed above).
- Aim the tip of the cannula (or the syringe itself without a needle) as close to the edge of the well as possible, but do not touch it.
- Rinse the well at different angles to thoroughly clean it and prevent infection. Do not press too hard - too powerful a jet of water can damage the hole.
Part 3 of 3: Know what to expect the day after your wisdom tooth extraction
Step 1. Don't panic
Food debris that gets into the hole of an extracted wisdom tooth is really an unpleasant phenomenon, but they will not cause an infectious process. Remember that the hole will still heal regardless of whether food gets there, so it is much more important not to touch the hole or injure it.
Step 2. Do not confuse blood clots and fibrous plaque with food debris
Over time, the blood clot that fills the hole becomes grayish and becomes covered with fibrous plaque, which makes it look like food debris. If you clean the hole too vigorously, there is a high probability of removing this blood clot, which will entail certain complications.
Step 3. Try to give preference to softer foods at first
This is especially important in the first 24 hours after wisdom tooth extraction. Then, when the hole begins to gradually heal and tighten, you can gradually switch from soft foods to harder ones. But in general, it is better to avoid tough, stretchy, crispy and spicy foods, because there is a risk that the remnants of such food will fall into the hole, causing irritation of the mucous membrane or even an infectious process.
- Chew on the opposite side of the extracted tooth socket.
- Avoid food that is too hot or cold. In the first two days after tooth extraction, it is better to warm and cool food to room temperature.
Step 4. Take care in advance to prevent contamination of the well
Try to wash your hands with soap and water more often than usual. For a week or so after your tooth extraction, try not to shake hands with people when you meet. Don't share your toothbrush and other oral hygiene products with others (and don't use others). The point is, you need to minimize the risk of a secondary infection that can challenge your immune system.
Step 5. Seek professional medical attention if needed
A little bleeding is common during the first days after tooth extraction. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should contact your dental surgeon immediately:
- heavy bleeding (more than a few slowly flowing drops of blood);
- suppuration from the socket of the extracted tooth;
- difficulty swallowing / breathing;
- swelling that increases 2-3 days after tooth extraction;
- bloody or purulent discharge from the nasal passages;
- throbbing dull pain 48 hours after tooth extraction;
- bad breath 3 days after tooth extraction;
- pain that is not relieved by pain medication.
- Double check each well, rinsing for a couple more seconds to make sure you have removed all food debris. Extracted tooth sockets may be deeper than you think.
- Alternatively, instead of a syringe for washing, you can use a spray bottle, you just need to change the nozzle on it to a cannula in order to direct the stream of water directly into the well.
- This method is especially effective if the wisdom teeth were impacted (that is, they did not erupt through the bone tissue and gums), and incisions were made to remove these teeth. But this method is also suitable for other tooth extraction cases.
- It is best to rinse the well only if you have no difficulty opening your mouth.
- These recommendations are not a substitute for the ones given by your dentist-surgeon! Follow your doctor's recommendations and be sure to inform him of any complications.
- If during the operation you feel painful sensations, be sure to inform the doctor about it before continuing the surgery.
- If you are using any instruments, make sure the instruments are sterile and disposable.