Do you have an appointment coming up for a tooth extraction that you’re a bit nervous for?

We get it. Tooth extraction can certainly sound like a frightening operation. And while we’ll certainly admit that it may not be the most exciting experience of your life, having your tooth extracted is sometimes necessary in case of damage or infection.

And, the good news is that there are things you can do before and after the extraction that will make your experience a little more pleasant.

Read on to learn what to do before and after a tooth extraction.


Although having a tooth extracted is generally a very safe and smooth procedure, it is still important to prepare yourself beforehand in order to minimize any risks.

Medical History Review

A big part of this preparation involves informing your dentist of any medications you are currently taking. This is important because certain medications and medical conditions can put you at a higher risk of developing an infection. Medical conditions that put you at a higher risk of infection include:

  • Congenital heart defect
  • Immune system that is impaired
  • Liver disease
  • Artificial joint
  • Damage to the heart valves
  • History of bacterial endocarditis

The medical conditions you have and the medications you are on will inform the dentist what type of local anesthesia they should administer, so it is very important that you disclose this information.

Know What Will Happen During the Procedure

Oftentimes, knowing exactly what you are up against is the best way to calm your nerves.

This goes for all things in life, including tooth extraction. During your tooth extraction, your dentist will start by giving you an injection of a local anesthetic.

This will numb the area of the tooth that is to be removed. In some cases, however, dentists give general anesthesia. This will help to prevent pain in your body, and it will also put you to sleep.

Once the tooth has been numbed, the dentist will use a device called forceps to gently wiggle the tooth from the jaw bone.

After the tooth has been pulled, a blood clot will typically form in its place. Your dentist will then pack a gauze pad into the socket to help stop the bleeding.

You will be asked to bite down on the gauze pad, and a few self-dissolving stitches may even be used to help close the extraction site.

After a Tooth Extraction

Once the procedure is over, your dentist will send you home to recover. Once you get home, it is very important you do the following:

  • Take it easy for the next 24 hours
  • Continue to bite down on the gauze for the next several hours
  • Apply ice at 10-minute intervals
  • Keep your head propped to lessen the bleeding
  • Take painkillers, as directed by your dentist
  • Stick to soft foods like yogurt, applesauce, and soup
  • Brush and floss as normal, but avoid the extraction site
  • Do not drink from a straw for 24 hours
  • Expect a certain amount of pain, swelling, and bleeding
  • Notify your dentist if you experience fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pain, or extreme swelling or pain

By following these post-procedure tips, you should be in great shape.

Are You Ready for Your Tooth to Be Extracted?

As you can see, there’s a lot to keep in mind before and after a tooth extraction.

If you have any questions about these guidelines, please let us know in the comments below. And, remember you can always ask your dentist if anything is unclear.

Also, you can contact us if you haven’t set up your tooth extraction appointment yet.

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