Is Heat or Cold Better For Tooth Extraction Pain?
Most dental professionals will recommend cold compresses and cold foods/beverages for tooth extraction pain and swelling. This is because cold can actually help constrict blood vessels supplying the gums, decreasing the amount of blood that flows to the site of a tooth extraction and help limit the amount of bleeding and irritation of the gums. So food items like ice cream, flan, pudding, and cold soup/broth are perfect for the first few days after a tooth extraction.
Heat, on the other hand, shouldn’t be applied to the face or mouth as it can actually make blood vessels dilate or open up, promoting further swelling and irritation of the gums. The only time minor heat is allowed is if you’re using warm salt water gargles which can actually be beneficial in killing bacteria and decreasing the chances of a post tooth extraction infection. But otherwise, it’s best to stick to anything cold to help alleviate tooth extraction pain and to help speed up the healing process.
How Else Can I Ease the Pain of Tooth Extraction?
Most patients who receive a tooth extraction will experience minor discomfort and difficulty chewing certain foods for at least a week. Other than using cold to help ease tooth extraction pain, there are some other things you can also try to make the next few days feel more comfortable and speed up recovery.
The first is using pain medications. Depending on your level of pain, you may either be prescribed a pain medication or have to get an over the counter pain medication from a local pharmacy. Either way, pain medications can drastically decrease pain for a few hours. They are also great when taken before bed as they can help make going to sleep much easier.
The second thing you can do to ease tooth extraction pain is to avoid irritants and pro-inflammatory substances. This means avoiding things like cigarette smoke, vapes, and alcohol as all these things can hinder gum healing and increase pain. Hot beverages like coffee and hot soups also should be avoided as heat can increase swelling and discomfort. And of course, avoiding difficult to chew, hard foods like candies, certain fruits, and certain types of meat can decrease any unnecessary stress on the teeth and gums. In the end, stick to soft foods for at least a week after a tooth extraction to give your gums sufficient time to heal.
The third thing you should do is avoid using a straw when drinking anything. Using a straw can cause suction on the teeth and exposed gums, leading to further irritation and swelling.
Of course, if you notice that your pain isn’t getting any better after a few days, or notice signs of infection, it is important to speak with your dentist as soon as possible. If you have more questions please contact our dentists in Mansfield MA.