We know you wish you weren’t in this situation. Going to the dentist is nerve-racking enough, but going to the dentist to get your tooth pulled may cause even more anxiety than the standard teeth cleaning and exam.

However, undergoing a tooth extraction by a trusted and experienced dentist isn’t that bad at all. It’s a routine procedure that is quick and has a relatively mild and short recovery. It’s much tamer than what may occur if you leave your infected tooth untreated. If you don’t attend your tooth extraction appointment, your gums may get dangerously infected and cause chronic pain, swelling, or worse.

Wisdom teeth extraction may be more painful with a longer recovery, depending on the position of the wisdom teeth and how impacted they are. You don’t want to put off wisdom teeth extraction either. Wisdom teeth can cause severe pain and infection and even affect the placement of the rest of your teeth. There likely isn’t enough room for your wisdom teeth to grow in, so as they try to fit their way in, they may cause your teeth to move, resulting in crooked and overlapping teeth.

Hopefully, your healing will proceed smoothly after your extraction, but you may develop some complications. At that point, you may find yourself wondering what’s normal and what isn’t. What will heal on its own, and what requires another trip to the doctor? Here’s a closer look at some post-extraction health issues, how to avoid them, and what kind of attention they may need if they develop.

Headaches and Pain After a Tooth Extraction: What's Normal

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Headaches and Jaw Pain After Extraction

It is common to experience a mild headache or even severe migraine after a tooth extraction procedure due to the tightening of mouth and jaw muscles. The headaches usually subside once the area has healed. It usually takes a few days. Not everyone experiences headaches after tooth extraction, so fingers crossed that you’re one of the lucky ones.

How Fear Affects Pain

Try your hardest to stay calm and relaxed before, during, and after your procedure to prevent gum tension that can worsen the pain and headaches. The greater your fear, the more your body and brain work to keep us in “flight or fight mode.” We tend to clench our jaws and become tense when we are scared or in panic mode.

Extraction without fear starts with a trusted dentist in Utah, a calming environment, and some mental preparation. If you tend to have anxiety about the dentist, mentally prepare for your tooth extraction procedure. Some things you can do to prepare include:

  • Notify your dentist of any pre-existing conditions that may affect your procedure, such as high blood pressure, heart issues, asthma, bleeding disorders, or a compromised immune system.
  • Relaxation and meditation. Try meditating in the days leading up to your procedure and that morning. Deep relaxation can help get your mind in a state of calm serenity. Yoga is a great way to relax your body, mind, and soul.
  • Positive self-talk. Give yourself a pep talk and prepare your mind by explaining what you’ll feel, how you’ll act, and how you’ll handle your procedure.
  • Bring a friend, partner, or family member along. If you hate enduring anything alone, bringing a loved one along may keep you at ease from start to finish. It’s always nice to have a hand to hold.

Signs of Infection Post Tooth Extraction

Discomfort, pain, headaches for a few days, and mild swelling are your body’s normal response to a procedure. However, some signs indicate that there may be a problem and you’re not healing correctly. Contact your dentist if you have:

  • Bleeding that lasts 24 hours or longer
  • Consistent or increased fevers
  • Throbbing pain that doesn’t subside with medication
  • Moderate to severe discomfort when chewing or talking
  • Moderate to severe swelling of your face, jaw, or gums
  • Mild to severe headaches that continue after healing

Remedies for Headaches and Tooth Pain

The headaches after an extraction can be quite miserable. The mouth pain isn’t fun, either. Here are three remedies you can try to help manage your pain and headaches after an extraction:

1. Aspirin

Aspirin is a very effective headache and pain reliever. Make sure to take it as directed, and you may notice a considerable decrease in your pain level.

2. Hot and Cold Compresses

Applying hot and cold compresses can help to manage swelling and tension that may be causing those throbbing headaches. Use a cold washcloth or ice pack for compression. Then apply a heating pad to relax tense muscles and enhance blood flow around the recovering area. This is a great way to ease your discomfort.

3. Saltwater Rinse

A lukewarm salt water rinse can ease various oral issues, from canker sores to sore throats to tooth extraction pain. Research shows that warm water mixed with salt can kill bacteria and keep gums healthy. A saltwater rinse can aid in keeping your mouth clean and preventing post-extraction infections or complications. A lukewarm salt water rinse is excellent, even on a typical day.

We hope this helped inform and prepare you for your tooth extraction. Try to stay calm, use your gauze as directed by your dentist, avoid using straws after your procedure, stick with soft foods and practice proper oral care.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Davis or Weber County who uses the latest technology for tooth extractions, dentures, root canals, porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, and emergency dental care, give us a call today!