After tooth extraction, appropriate care should be taken to prevent infection and ensure uneventful healing. First of all, it means to use of antiseptic mouth rinse. It is unacceptable to clean extraction socket in any way. The idea of using antiseptic solution includes both removing food particles and preventing accumulation of bacterial plaque.
Extraction socket is a hole in the jawbone which appears after the tooth is removed. Doctor cleans it up, removes damaged tissue and granulations and makes sure that no root particles are left in the wound. At this stage bleeding is normal and should not be stopped intentionally. Blood clot filling the socket will protect it from the infection and turn into a bone tissue over time. Rinsing mouth vigorously can cause displacement of the blood clot and lack of natural protection of the wound. In turn, this can be a reason of developing dry socket. It is especially important during 24-48 hours after extraction. That’s why it is recommended to make mouth bath for 1-2 minutes instead of rinsing.
What can we use as a mouthwash after tooth extraction? In the best case scenario when oral hygiene condition is perfect, there are no carious and damages teeth, tooth extraction was less traumatic, the initial problem was not presented with suppuration, or in the other words there is no source of infection in the mouth, we can say that antiseptic mouthwash is not a necessity and the simple saline or sodium bicarbonate solution can be used to rinse the mouth. But this kind of ideal situation is rare and usually using antiseptic solution is recommended after tooth extraction to avoid the complications.
Herbal extracts such as chamomile, calendula, etc. occasionally are used as a mouthwash but it is not the best choice after tooth extraction. They do have anti-inflammatory, soothing effect, promoting fast healing but not anti-bacterial properties. Extract may contain herbal particles which can retain in the wound and cause an infection.
The most recommended oral antiseptic in modern dentistry is chlorhexidine. There are mane researches proving its effectiveness towards many species of pathogenic bacteria in oral cavity. Besides, unlike other antiseptics, chlorhexidine can stay active in the soft tissue for certain amount of time. There are different concentration chlorhexidine products available in the market. They can be used for different purpose — bacterial plaque prevention, adjunctive treatment during periodontal therapy, after gum surgery or tooth extraction, before and/or after dental implant placement, etc.
We should remember that chlorhexidine is a powerful antiseptic. It is very important to choose the right concentration and regime. Therefore, it should always be prescribed by a dentist.