Tooth Extraction Aftercare — Why Use a Saltwater Rinse?

When you visit an oral surgeon for a tooth extraction, you’ll get aftercare instructions. The surgical team will brief you on exactly what to do — and what not to do — for a smooth recovery.

One of the directions you may be given is to start using a saltwater rinse the day after your procedure. Oral surgeons frequently recommended this step, as it expedites the healing process.

tooth extraction saltwater rinse

But how does saltwater rinsing work? Are there other steps you can take to improve your post-tooth extraction care?

Why Saltwater Rinsing Helps

Using a saltwater rinse promotes proper healing, which helps speed up the tooth extraction recovery process.

After getting a tooth pulled, cleaning your mouth is more difficult. You can’t use a toothbrush at or near the extraction site until the area has healed — doing so could irritate the gum tissues. Saltwater rinsing acts as a substitute for brushing, keeping the socket clean.

In addition, rinsing with salt water creates an environment that’s hostile to dental bacteria. As a result, regular use helps prevent infection and other post-extraction complications.

How to Make & Use a Saltwater Rinse

Making a mouth rinse is incredibly easy — simply add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, then stir until dissolved.

To use, lightly swish the solution around in your mouth for 30 seconds. Spit it out gently, taking care not to dislodge the blood clot that’s formed over the extraction site. Dislodging the clot could be painful, and it may lengthen the recovery process or lead to post-extraction complications.

Additional Tooth Extraction Aftercare Advice

After getting a tooth pulled, follow these steps to minimize your discomfort and speed up healing:

  • Take your medicine regularly, as directed by your oral surgeon.
  • Stick to drinking liquids — without a straw — and eating soft foods until you’ve healed.
  • Rest and avoid heavy lifting for at least three days.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene by rinsing with salt water up to four times per day and gently brushing teeth that aren’t near the extraction site.

Do you need a tooth extraction? For compassionate treatment from a highly skilled Salt Lake City area oral surgeon, schedule a consultation at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield are board-certified oral surgeons with over 10 years of experience serving patients in northern Utah — and both have the training and qualifications to complete simple and complex extractions with expert care. You can trust Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah to take good care of you, as our entire team is committed to giving every patient a safe and comfortable experience.

For more tips and information on tooth extraction aftercare or for a professional consultation, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today.