Extraction Post-Operative Instructions
Follow these instructions carefully to ensure the successful healing of your tooth extraction.
When to call us
It is normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a tooth extraction, but call us right away if you have:
- Heavy or increased bleeding
- Pain or swelling that increases or continues beyond two or three days
- A bad taste or odor in your mouth
- A reaction to the medication
During the first 24 hours
It is important that a blood clot forms on the extraction site to stop bleeding, reduce pain, and speed healing. To protect the clot and avoid the pain of dry socket: Bite on a gauze pad firmly for 30-60 minutes. Blood and saliva mix in the mouth and make it look like
there is more bleeding than there really is. Some oozing is normal; however, after 1 hour, repeat with a clean gauze pad if oozing is profuse. The site could ooze for as long as 24 hours.
Don’t spit, and don’t suck on candies or through a straw.
Don’t rinse your mouth, and don’t brush or floss next to the site.
Don’t smoke or use tobacco. Avoid tobacco for at least 72 hours because it slows healing.
Don’t sneeze or cough, so have sinus or allergy medication on hand if necessary.
Limit yourself to calm activities, and elevate your head with pillows when you lie down to reduce bleeding.
Don’t drink hot, carbonated, or alcoholic drinks, and avoid hot or spicy foods.
To control discomfort, take pain medication before the anesthetic has worn off or as recommended.
To keep swelling to a minimum, use an ice bag over the area, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
When the numbness has worn off completely, drink lots of fluids and eat only soft nutritious foods, chewing on the opposite side.
After the first 24 hours
Begin to eat normally as soon as it’s comfortable.
Resume brushing and flossing, but clean gently around the site for about a week.
If antibiotics were prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.
Reduce soreness or swelling by applying moist heat. Swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.
Further reduce swelling by rinsing your mouth very gently with warm salt water. Use about one teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water. Rinse two to three times a day for the week following the extraction.