Why You Shouldn’t Take Ibuprofen After Tooth Extraction
There are many recommended things to avoid and things to do following a tooth extraction to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible and prevent infections which will hamper your recovery and cause a great deal of pain. While the tooth extraction itself will be performed under a local anaesthetic and will be painless except for some pressure against the neighbouring teeth, when the anaesthetic wears off, you will feel pain in the area as the blood flows to heal the wound and causes swelling around your mouth and jaw.
But should you avoid taking ibuprofen after your tooth extraction? If so, why?
Having an Emergency Tooth Extraction
You should see your dentist for an emergency appointment if:
- You have unbearable toothache that doesn’t go after taking painkillers
- You have a tooth infection (dental abscess)
- You have broken or damaged a tooth
Do not go to your GP as they cannot help with dental issues, and do not go to hospital for dental problems unless your life is in danger. Only go to the emergency department with toothache if you also:
- Are bleeding severely
- Have severe swelling around your eye, tongue or neck
- Are finding it difficult to swallow, speak or breathe
A&E can treat your symptoms to save your life, however, they may still refer you to an emergency dentist to treat the dental problem itself.
Emergency dentist appointments can be given on the same day or within a couple of days if you’ve been triaged over the phone. The dentist will have a look at your teeth and gums and take an x-ray to diagnose the issue and decide what needs to be done. An emergency dentist can remove a tooth if necessary, or schedule another appointment for a tooth extraction, if, for example, you have an impacted wisdom tooth that is not an emergency.
If you have a tooth infection, they may perform a root canal to remove the inflamed tissue and build-up of white blood cells, or if the infection is severe and has spread across more teeth or into the jaw, they may prescribe antibiotics.
Emergency dental appointments are more expensive than routine appointments, so only go to an emergency dental appointment if completely necessary.
Your dentist will provide you with an information leaflet with advice on how to look after your teeth following a tooth extraction, but the more you know in advance, the better.
The Importance of Tooth Extraction Aftercare
Maintaining good oral hygiene is important to keep your teeth and gums healthy, strong and free from bacteria which may cause infections and gum disease. However, after having a tooth extracted, keeping your mouth clear of bacteria is even more essential to prevent infections in the open wound.
A surgical tooth extraction will have stitches to close the wound, but more simple procedures will leave the wound open. In either case, you need to keep your mouth clean to help the wound heal. After a tooth extraction, your dentist will give you a wad of gauze to bite down on to put pressure on your gums and stop bleeding, which will help in the formation of a blood clot.
Blood clots are essential to keep any wound clean. Whether you graze your knee or have a tooth removed, your body’s reaction is to send the right substances, including platelets, proteins, and cells to form a seal over the wound (a blood clot) to help the tissue heal and prevent bacteria from entering. Without a blood clot, the nerves and sometimes bone are exposed which can be very painful, and bacteria can easily enter the wound causing an infection.
If you don’t follow your dentist’s aftercare advice for your tooth extraction, you risk preventing a blood clot from forming or dislodging it, causing what’s known as a dry socket, and increasing your risk of developing an infection.
Once the anaesthetic has worn off, you’ll want to take painkillers as your jaw will likely hurt a lot. Dentists recommend taking painkillers to make you more comfortable and able to return to normal activities quicker, as well as to help reduce the swelling around your jaw.
Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen are often the best painkillers to take as they target pain by reducing inflammation, and they can be taken with acetaminophens like paracetamol, to further reduce pain. Paracetamol alone may not be effective at relieving pain, but taken with ibuprofen, can help make your first few days following your tooth extraction a lot more bearable.
However, you should never take more than 6 ibuprofen tablets a day, or more than 8 paracetamol tablets a day and should alternate between each, ensuring you don’t repeat the same tablet within 4 hours of your last one.
Can You Take Ibuprofen After Tooth Extraction?
Some people suggest that you shouldn’t take ibuprofen following your tooth extraction, however, this information is slightly misguided. You can take ibuprofen after having a tooth extraction as it will help reduce the swelling around the extraction site. However, you shouldn’t take ibuprofen straight away after your tooth extraction.
You should avoid eating and drinking anything for three hours after your tooth extraction to avoid disrupting the formation of the blood clot, so you also shouldn’t take any painkillers during those three hours. What’s more, ibuprofen can cause stomach ache when taken on an empty stomach, so if you haven’t eaten before your tooth extraction, you should wait for three hours and then eat something soft before taking ibuprofen.
Eating and Drinking
While you shouldn’t eat straight after having a tooth extracted, you should also be careful about what you eat and drink for the first 72 hours following your tooth extraction to avoid causing pain or dislodging the blood clot.
Your gums and teeth will be sensitive following a dental procedure so you should avoid eating or drinking anything very hot or very cold, such as a cup of tea or ice cream. If you have hot food or drinks, wait for them to cool to room temperature before consuming them for your comfort.
Some items like alcohol and fizzy drinks can also dissolve the blood clot, so you should avoid them for at least 7 days following the extraction so the wound has time to heal. You are also advised not to drink through a straw or smoke, as the sucking motion can remove the blood clot, leaving you with a dry socket.
Foods You Should Avoid
After your tooth extraction, you should only eat soft foods, like scrambled eggs, boiled vegetables and mashed potato, to prevent crumbs from entering the wound.
Foods you should avoid include:
- Spicy food
- Crumbly food
- Crunchy food
- Fresh milk
- Acidic foods
- Food containing seeds
Benefits of Seeing a Private Dentist
The NHS is going through difficult times, with limited funding and limited staff, so more and more people are wondering whether it’s worth it to go private for their health and dental care, especially since most people have to pay for their dental care on the NHS anyway. Well, although dental procedures like tooth extractions cost more privately, you’re not just paying for the procedure, you also get expert care with high-tech equipment, appointments at times that suit you (not 6 to 12 months down the line), options for cosmetic treatment and many more benefits.
Your health should be a priority and your teeth play a vital role in your overall physical health, so maintaining excellent oral hygiene, including twice-yearly appointments with a dental hygienist, is essential for your health, and unfortunately, no longer easily available through the UK’s public services.
Didsbury Dental Practice – Your Trusted Private Dentist
Whether you need routine appointments for dental check-ups or emergency dental care, Didsbury Dental Practice is here to help. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you won’t have to wait around for an appointment. Contact Didsbury Dental Practice to book your appointment!