Can I Drive After Tooth Extraction

Can I Drive After Tooth Extraction

Can I Drive After Tooth Extraction

Tooth extractions are common procedures and questions about postoperative care and restrictions often come up as people want to get back to normal as soon as possible. One common concern is whether it’s safe to get behind the wheel. In this blog, we’ll explore the factors that influence your ability to drive after tooth extraction and provide guidance for a smooth and safe recovery process.

After Your Tooth Extraction: What to Watch Out for

After Your Tooth Extraction: What to Watch Out for

After a tooth extraction, proper postoperative care is crucial for a smooth and speedy recovery. You must follow your dentist’s advice regarding what you can and can’t do over the following 24 hours, 72 hours and 7 days.

In the first three hours following the procedure, you must not eat to allow the blood clot to form undisturbed. After those 3 hours when you can eat, drink and take painkillers, avoid taking ibuprofen on an empty stomach to prevent potential irritation.

Engaging in intense exercise is discouraged during the initial stages of recovery, as it may lead to increased bleeding or discomfort. During the first 24 hours, you should also avoid cleaning your mouth. This may seem contradictory but brushing, rinsing, or spitting can disrupt the blood clot from forming.

Smoking poses a significant risk to the healing process, and it’s advisable to refrain for at least 7 days. Furthermore, steer clear of alcohol consumption and alcohol-based mouthwashes, as alcohol can dissolve the blood clot and delay healing.

Selecting foods and drinks carefully is vital to avoid unnecessary pain. Opt for soft, cool items that won’t irritate your gum. Being mindful of these guidelines following your tooth extraction is key to ensuring a comfortable and complication-free recovery. If you have any concerns or questions, contact your dental practice as soon as possible for personalised guidance.

What Food Can You Eat to Aid Healing

It’s all well and good knowing what to avoid, but it’s more helpful to know what you should eat and drink to stay healthy, be comfortable and help your gum heal quicker. Including fibre, nutrients, proteins and iron are essential in a post-recovery diet to help your gum heal well and allow you to get back to normal.

Some foods you should include in your diet include:

  • Soft fruits like apple sauce, mashed bananas, and ripe avocados, are easy to eat and provide essential vitamins
  • Smoothies: Blend soft fruits to create a nutritious and easy-to-consume drink, but avoid anything with small seeds and don’t drink with a straw
  • Mashed potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates and can be easily eaten
  • Scrambled eggs are soft and protein-rich
  • Pasta and noodles when cooked well are easy to eat and a good source of fibre
  • Blended or pureed soups can be a good source of nutrition, just let it cool down before consuming. Also only have soft bread if you have bread on the side.

Some soups that will aid recovery include:

  • Chicken Soup is a classic choice that is rich in protein. Use bone broth for added nutrients, and include soft vegetables like carrots and celery
  • Lentil Soup is an excellent source of both protein and iron
  • Beef and Vegetable Soup is a good source of both protein and iron
  • Black Bean Soup is high in protein and iron. Puree the soup for a smoother consistency for more comfortable consumption

Can You Drive Home After Your Tooth Extraction?

Can You Drive Home After Your Tooth Extraction?

So you know what you can eat and what you need to avoid, but what about driving after your tooth extraction? Dentists don’t regularly give information about driving after your tooth extraction but it’s worth asking before your appointment to know if you need a lift home or are safe to drive yourself.

You can drive home after your tooth extraction in almost all cases as you will only have had a local anaesthetic to numb the area, therefore, the anaesthetic won’t affect your ability to drive. If you have had a sedation, you cannot drive yourself home after your tooth extraction and will need to arrange a taxi or a friend to take you home.

If you’re worried about your tooth extraction, you may not wish to drive home even if you’re able as you may be distracted by the numbness in your jaw or feel faint following the procedure. Ultimately, only drive if you feel comfortable to do so as you must prioritise your and other drivers’ safety. If you suddenly feel unwell while driving, pull over and get a taxi home or ask someone to come to get you.

When Can You Travel After a Tooth Extraction?

When Can You Travel After a Tooth Extraction?

Although you can drive immediately after your tooth extraction if you wish, that doesn’t mean that all travel is possible after your tooth extraction. Flying should generally be avoided after most surgeries, and tooth extraction is no exception.

Avoid flying for at least 24 hours, ideally 48 hours, as your gums will still be healing and the pressure in the aircraft may cause them to bleed which will disrupt the forming of a blood clot, causing a dry socket. What’s more, you should keep using an ice pack on and off for the first day or two to reduce swelling in the area, which you won’t be able to do while you’re travelling, so it’s best to stay at home and rest for the first two days.

Similarly, running or engaging in strenuous physical activity should be avoided for at least a day or two after a tooth extraction. Rigorous activities can increase blood flow to the extraction site, potentially causing bleeding or dislodging the blood clot that forms in the socket, which is essential for proper healing. It’s important to assess how you feel before following any strict advice as people heal at different speeds and some may feel well enough to run, while it would be inadvisable for others.

How to Tell Your Gum Is Healing After Tooth Extraction

How to Tell Your Gum Is Healing After Tooth Extraction

You can check your blood clot yourself with a handheld mirror and torch, opening your mouth to see the reddish brown jelly-like substance covering the socket, the name for the site where the tooth was removed from. The blood clot will gradually shrink over the following week, indicating your gum is healing.

You can usually resume your normal activities after one week, or when the blood clot has naturally shrunk and disappeared, but that doesn’t mean the socket has completely healed and you should still exercise caution with some habits and foods, especially if the area is still sensitive.

Generally, the healing process follows this timeline:

  • First 24 hours: Blood clot formation is crucial during this period. It stops bleeding and protects the exposed nerves and bone, allowing for tissue repair.
  • 1-2 weeks: Tissue will form and bone and soft tissue begin healing.
  • 2-6 weeks: The socket continues to heal as new bone and soft tissue develop.
  • Several months: Complete healing of the gum can take several months as the bone continues to grow and the soft tissues surrounding the area continue to strengthen.

So following this timeline, you don’t have to wait months before you can consume crunchy or spicy foods again, but keep to soft foods and moderate exercise for the first week, before going back to your normal life between one and two weeks, as you feel comfortable.

Seeing an Emergency Dentist

If you have unbearable toothache, ear pain or signs of a tooth infection before or after a tooth extraction, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. You can make an appointment with an emergency dentist over the phone or find their details by calling NHS 111 if you aren’t registered with a dentist or can’t get a routine appointment quickly. Emergency dentists can perform tooth extractions if they need to, but depending on the cause of your tooth pain, they may choose to perform a root canal, drain an abscess or give you antibiotics instead.

Emergency dental treatment will be more expensive than routine appointments, so it’s important to stay on top of your dental health and have dental appointments once every 6 months to a year.

Need to See a Dentist? Call Didsbury Dental Practice

If you need to see a dentist in Manchester, contact Didsbury Dental Practice today to get an appointment at a time that suits you.

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