Our job at the Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group in Austin is to replace teeth and help preserve them, but there are occasions when a tooth has to be removed. Hopefully, the process will be the simple extraction of a natural tooth, but even then, some swelling is natural and expected. We find that patients feel more confident about the procedure when they know what to expect and how to stay as comfortable as possible.
The loss of a tooth triggers the immune system’s inflammatory response. The patient’s blood should quickly clot, sealing off the empty socket from harmful bacteria, so the patient may try to prevent inflammation from increasing. The best way to do this is through the use of cold packs. They should be held against the mouth for fifteen minutes at a time, with fifteen minutes allowed to elapse between applications. The packs should be dry. Swelling can be expected to peak on the third day, and patients should call us if it continues to increase after that.
Once swelling has maximized, patients can try reducing it by using heat packs to speed blood flow out of the extraction region. For their safety, they should follow the same fifteen-on/fifteen-off protocol. Swelling should usually disappear within a week. If the extraction was complex, swelling may be more severe, and patients will have to return to our office anyway to have the sutures removed.
Frederick Shaw, DDS, operates the Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group at 1500 W 38th Street, Suite 34, Austin, Texas, 78731. To schedule an appointment, call 512-451-7491 or visit Frederick Shaw DDS and fill out a contact form.