Although it is always best to keep all of your natural teeth, some teeth just cannot be saved. If your tooth is severely infected, cracked or impacted, it might need to be pulled. Tooth extractions are very routine and normally do not result in any complications, but you still have to take good care of yourself afterward. Here are five helpful tips for recovering from a tooth extraction.

Avoid Rigorous Activities for At least 24 Hours

If you want to recover quickly, you should avoid rigorous activities for at least 24 hours after your extraction. Do not exercise or try to lift anything too heavy. If you exert yourself too much, you can increase bleeding and prolong the recovery process.

Rinse Your Mouth With Salt Water

Start rinsing your mouth with salt water 24 hours after your tooth extraction. Rinsing your mouth with salt water will help keep food particles and bacteria out of the treated area. If you rinse your mouth with salt water for a few days, you will recover quicker from your tooth extraction. Try to gargle the salt water in your mouth after every meal.

Do not Eat Crunchy or Spicy Foods

After your tooth extraction, it is very important to avoid crunchy and spicy foods for at least a few days. These foods can irritate the treated area and increase your recovery time. Eat foods that are easy on the extraction site such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, soup, oatmeal and jello.

Keep Your Head Elevated

Keeping your head elevated all the time is crucial after a tooth extraction. If your head is elevated, you will reduce swelling and recover a lot faster. When you are lying down in your bed, you should place two pillows under your head.

Do not Smoke

If you are a smoker, you will need to avoid lighting up for at least two days after your tooth extraction. Smoking can increase your risk of an infection and even lead to a dry socket. If you quit smoking, the recovery process will be a lot quicker.

If you follow these helpful tips, you will recover from a tooth extraction just fine. However, if you still experience extreme pain or swelling after a couple of days, you should contact an oral surgeon (such as Terrence E. Robbins DMD, Inc.) right away. When you go to see your oral surgeon, he will examine the extraction site for signs of infection.