It’s important to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions and care for your teeth and gums to promote healing, minimize discomfort and speed up the recovery process. That includes taking care of the area where your tooth was extracted, which involves a variety of steps.
First, your dentist will place gauze pads at the extraction site to limit bleeding and keep the area clean. This is a key part of avoiding infection and discomfort, while also helping the blood clot to form.
During this time, you may experience some pain and swelling. Your doctor will also prescribe pain relievers. In the meantime, you should avoid strenuous activity and hot liquids or foods that can aggravate your wound.
The best way to keep the area clean is by rinsing regularly with water. You can also rinse with a mild salt water solution. Keeping your mouth clean after an extraction is crucial to the healing process and prevents infections from developing.
Typically, you’ll want to wait at least 24 hours before using mouthwash after tooth extraction or until your dentist tells you it’s okay. That gives your gums and extraction site time to heal and decreases the risk of irritation or bleeding.
When you do decide to swish mouthwash after your wisdom tooth removal, you should stick with a non-alcoholic rinse, like Listerine. The reason is that alcohol can sting the extraction hole and cause dry socket, a common side effect of tooth removal. So, it’s best to wait until your wisdom tooth is completely healed before resuming alcohol use.