What you should know about tooth extractions:
A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its respective bone socket. Extractions may be needed for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, teeth are extracted when other options to save the tooth are no longer viable. For a few days following the procedure, you may experience soreness, swelling, bruising, and sensitivity in the affected area. Bleeding from the site may occur over the next 12 to 24 hours and numbness from the local anesthetic used for the procedure may last for a few hours.
It is important that you practice proper aftercare once a tooth is extracted. For the first 24 hours, avoid the affected area when brushing or flossing, but keep the area clean by rinsing your mouth with warm water. After the initial 24 hour period, you may gently brush the area with a soft bristled toothbrush. Hold an ice pack to the outside of your cheek to help with any swelling and eat soft meals, avoiding crunchy or sticky foods. Consult your dentist regarding the use of over-the-counter pain medications.
Following the procedure avoid spitting, drinking from a straw, smoking, heavy lifting, and strenuous exercise. Also, do not unnecessarily touch or irritate the area. Failure to take proper aftercare steps could result in prolonged or excessive bleeding, delayed healing, severe pain, and even infection. If you experience any of those symptoms, you should contact your dentist immediately or go to the nearest hospital.
What you should know about fillings:
After removing the decayed portion of a tooth, a dentist will “fill” the affected area using either amalgam or composite; this is known as a filling. Depending on the size and location of the filling, you can expect sensitivity in the tooth that could last anywhere from a few hours to up to 6 months. There may be some pain or discomfort in the tooth from the procedure but it should subside over the next few days. Numbness from the anesthetic may last for a few hours after the procedure.
Aftercare for a filling is relatively simple. You may brush, floss, eat, and drink as normal; however, avoid eating and drinking hot liquids until the numbness from the local anesthetic wears off to prevent accidental bites or burns. If you experience bite or pressure pain, constant severe pain, or if your filling falls out, you should contact your dentist immediately.