Posted on: 26 April 2017Share
If you've recently had a tooth extracted, a certain amount of swelling and discomfort is to be expected. After all, your mouth has just been through a fairly traumatic experience and it will take a few days to settle back down again.
That said, you should still be on the lookout for any symptoms that could be a sign of trouble. Although post-extraction complications are uncommon, they do happen, and being able to act quickly and seek treatment is important in keeping serious problems at bay. So when are symptoms normal, and when should they have you heading to an out-of-hours dentist for an emergency appointment?
As long as you take any recommended or provided pain medication after the procedure, the discomfort should be kept to a minimum. It's also important to follow any other advice you're given, such as rinsing with a chlorhexidine mouthwash.
If, despite doing all the right things, the pain is particularly severe, or if it begins to worsen over time, you may have an infection. This is particularly likely if you're experiencing a lot of pain three days or more after the extraction. In this instance, you should see a dentist as soon as possible for assessment and treatment.
Using an ice pack on your face is one of the most effective ways to bring down the swelling, and should begin to work fairly quickly.
If this swelling hasn't started to go down after three days, it's likely a sign of infection and needs urgent attention. The longer it's left, the more likely it is that it will cause problems for other teeth.
When you have a tooth extracted, the dentist won't let you go until they're satisfied that everything looks normal, and checking the amount of bleeding is an important part of that. If the bleeding continues significantly after you return home and doesn't seem to be stopping, it's time to visit the dentist. However, bear in mind that the presence of saliva can make bleeding look worse than it really is, so try and get a good look at the site of the extraction if you can. Be careful not to touch or otherwise irritate the area.
Other things to watch out for
Although most infection symptoms will relate to the mouth, you might occasionally find that symptoms occur that seems to be unrelated. Be on guard for fever, dizziness and nausea, as these may signify that the extraction site has become infected.