Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Patient, Heal Thyself! Brush after Extraction

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Patient, Heal Thyself! Brush after Extraction

Article excerpt

Dear Tooth Doctors: I'm about to have some teeth extracted. Is there anything I can do to help myself to heal?

T.M., ST. CHARLES

Yes, there are several things you can do both before and after your surgery to minimize your discomfort and speed up the healing process. First, increase your level of home hygiene. Debris and bacteria can build up, and slow healing, unless you brush near the extraction site. The worst things you can do are to drink alcohol or smoke following the procedure. (Believe us!) Also, avoid sucking on a straw or creating any kind of vacuum that could dislodge the blood clot and disrupt healing. That situation might lead to a "dry socket," a painful infection of the bone.

Take a cold pack in a cooler to your appointment. Immediately after the surgery, apply the cold pack for 20 minutes at a time to minimize swelling. If swelling continues after 48 hours, alternate heat and cold packs every 20 minutes to "pump" the excess fluid away from the surgical site.

Some researchers believe that proper nutrition will help you recuperate quicker. They suggest increasing your vitamin C intake by 500 milligrams a day for one week before surgery and two weeks after surgery to expedite healing by enhancing tissue formation. To help bone mending, drink five glasses of skim milk a day before the extraction and for a week afterward.

GREEN LIGHT FOR BLUE LIGHT

Last month, we reported that several lasers flunked the Food and Drug Administration's requirement for use as a dental drill. Since then, the FDA has approved two new specialized lasers for a unique tooth-whitening process. It is done exclusively in the dental office - no take-home tubes and trays. The blue argon and carbon dioxide lasers are used to activate a patented mixture of synthetic chlorophyll, bleaches and heat catalysts, all without damaging the nerve.

All is not roses, however. The procedure requires 90 minutes to two hours, all in one session. …

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