July 30, 2018
After a tooth extraction or other oral surgery, most people want to heal quickly so they can get back to their lives as usual. We understand; pain meds and pudding are for people with real illnesses, not folks who just got a tooth removed.
At our Boone, NC dentist office, we use something called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to get you feeling like yourself as soon as possible after an extraction, dental implant placement, or other oral surgery procedure. PRP therapy is a method to promote faster healing, using nothing more than a small amount of your own blood.
PRP has been used for years by professional athletes like Tiger Woods to treat problems such as sprains and chronic tendon injuries. Studies show it has promising applications in dentistry too.
We’ve provided some information about PRP here, but we’re happy to answer any additional questions you might have. Call Appalachian Dental Care at 828-355-5673.
How PRP Promotes Faster Healing
Your blood is mostly a liquid called plasma. But it also contains red cells, white cells, and platelets. Platelets are especially helpful in clotting, and they also contain proteins called growth factors. Because of this, they are essential to healing.
Platelet-rich plasma is simply plasma that contains many more platelets than what is usually found in blood. Dr. Airey creates PRP by drawing a small amount of your blood and running it through a centrifuge, where platelets are separated from other blood cells and highly concentrated. This increases the healing proteins in your blood.
When applied to an extraction site or other area where we want to promote healing, the PRP releases its proteins for up to two weeks. It’s a lot like the process that happens after you cut yourself; your body creates a clot to stop the bleeding, then forms a scab for protection, then grows new skin.
PRP is completely biocompatible, which means it contains no additives, chemicals, or other foreign substances. So the risk of allergic reactions or other complications is very low.
Dr. Airey can even combine PRP with bone graft material to spur new bone growth. This treatment can improve bone strength if your jawbone is too thin to support dental implants.
PRP isn’t the only technological advance we’ll use for your oral surgery. Dr. Airey uses tools like our cone beam CT scan, a special kind of X-ray that gives him detailed 3D images of your teeth and the underlying facial structure. It helps him spot potential complications before your procedure starts. He can also use it to find the best possible sites for dental implant placement.
Take Care of Your Teeth in First 24 Hours After Oral Surgery
While PRP will naturally encourage healing, you can help it work by following some best practices after your oral surgery. The first 24 hours are especially important. We’ll give you gauze to cover your extraction site. Use it to apply gentle but firm pressure for at least 45 minutes. Switch to a new piece of gauze if it becomes saturated.
If bleeding continues, substitute a dampened tea bag for the gauze. Choose black tea, the type of tea leaves usually used to make iced tea. The tea’s tannic acid will promote blood clotting. The PRP will encourage clots to form too.
Don’t brush or floss your teeth for 24 hours after your oral surgery. In fact, avoid spitting and rinsing as much as possible during the first day. After 24 hours, you can brush and floss. You’ll need to be gentle and avoid the site of the extraction. Don’t use mouth rinses with alcohol. Use warm salt water to rinse, and avoid vigorous rinsing for a couple days.
Don’t eat solid foods for the first day. Yogurt, scrambled eggs, milkshakes, pudding, and soup (but not too hot) are good choices. You should also avoid spicy foods and acidic foods and beverages for a few days.
5 More Ways to Encourage Healing After Oral Surgery
Here are some other ways to minimize pain and encourage healing after your oral surgery:
- Use ice packs to reduce swelling. Keep on the site for about 20 minutes, then rest for 20 minutes before reapplying. If swelling continues after 24 hours, switch to warm towels instead of ice.
- If we give you a prescription for pain relief medication, take it as directed. If not, we’ll probably recommend an over-the-counter product like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). Do NOT use aspirin.
- Leave your extraction site alone; don’t touch or poke with your fingers or tongue.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid causing changes in air pressure. So don’t smoke or drink through a straw. If you need to blow your nose, do it gently.
If you’ve got any questions or concerns during your recovery, call Appalachian Dental Care at 828-355-5673.