Tooth extractions are a common precaution against overcrowding. While we at Dr. Suzanne Haeri’s South Carthay dental office have all sorts of tricks for repairing teeth and restoring their appearance, when extractions are necessary they are generally a simple affair. Swelling immediately after the procedure is expected, so we thought patients would feel more comfortable if we addressed it straightforwardly.
The body perceives tooth extractions as wounds and triggers the automatic immune response, which is inflammation. While this is a healthy way to prevent the spread of bacteria, we suture any incisions that were made in the course of an extraction and a blood clot will quickly seal off the socket, so patients may direct their efforts toward minimizing swelling. During the first three days after an extraction, the best way to do this is by applying cold packs. Swelling will peak after three days, at which point patients can speed the flow of blood out of swollen tissue by applying hot packs.
Both cold and hot packs should be used in accordance with the fifteen on/fifteen off rule: do not keep them on the skin for more than fifteen minutes at a time and always allow fifteen minutes to elapse between applications. Patients should seek emergency help if the extraction site turns black or white, but complications are rare and swelling normally disappears within a week.