Where There Is No Dentist 2012 169
7. Explain to the person what you have done, and what to do at
home to look after the wound. Remember that her mouth is numb,
so she cannot feel what is happening.
Taking out a tooth is like a small operation. There will be bleeding and
later some pain and swelling. This is normal and should be expected.
Tell the person this. Then give the following advice:
• Bite firmly on cotton gauze for an hour, and again later if blood
comes from the socket.
Always give the person some extra cotton gauze to
carry home, in case bleeding starts again later.
Show her how to use the cotton gauze.
• Take aspirin or acetominophen for pain as soon as you need it,
and then every 3 to 4 hours (pages 94-95).
• Keep your head up when you rest. This
reduces bleeding because it is harder for
blood to flow uphill. It also hurts less.
• Do not rinse your mouth. In some places
people believe they should immediately rinse
with salt water and spit a lot after a tooth comes out, but this is
harmful! It is important for the blood clot to stay inside the socket
and not wash away.
• Do not drink hot Iiquids like tea or coffee, because they
encourage bleeding. However, cool Iiquids are good for you.
Drink a lot of water.
• Continue to eat, but be sure the food is soft and easy to chew.
Try to chew food on the side opposite the wound.
• Keep your mouth clean. Start on the second day and continue
until the socket is well. To do this, rinse your mouth with warm
salt water (page 7) and keep your teeth clean (pages 69–72),
especially the teeth near the socket.
After a tooth comes out, it is a good idea to
replace it with a false tooth. If you do not,
the other teeth soon start to shift into the
This weakens the bone around their roots.
After some years, they too become loose
and sore, and they have to be taken out.