After Tooth Extraction

POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

Bleeding – Bleeding after an extraction is normal and may continue for several hours.  It is necessary to place a gauze pack on the extraction site(s) to limit bleeding and confine the blood while clotting takes place.  Fold a piece of gauze into a pad thick enough to bite on.  Apply moderate pressure by closing the teeth firmly over the pad.  Do not chew on the pack and remember to remove the pack prior to eating or drinking.  Change the gauze every 20 – 30 minutes, and if bleeding is excessive, moisten a gauze pad with ice water or moisten a tea bag and place over the surgical site.  This helps to control bleeding, however, if heavy bleeding continues, please be sure to contact our office. 

Blood Clot – After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket.  This clot is an important part of the normal healing process.  You should avoid activities that might disturb the clot.  Here is how to protect it:

  • Do not smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or drink through a straw for 24 hours.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages for 24 hours.
  • No strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting for 5 days after surgery.                     

Swelling and Pain – After a tooth is removed, you may have some discomfort and notice some swelling.  You can help reduce swelling and pain by applying cold compresses to your face as directed.  Hold an ice bag to the outside of your face over the area of operation as follows:  30 minutes on and 30 minutes off for the first 24 hours.  After the first 24 hours, use moist heat compresses applied to the area of swelling as follows:  30 minutes on and 30 minutes off for 3 to 4 days.  Also, for 3 days after surgery, please keep your head elevated when lying down by using 2 pillows or sitting in a recliner.

Diet – It is very important to maintain an adequate diet following a surgical procedure.  Drink plenty of cold liquids remembering not to use a straw.  Once liquids are tolerated, you may then progress to a soft diet consisting of applesauce, yogurt, pudding, jello and ice cream.  Be sure to have one of these foods in your stomach prior to taking any of the prescribed medications.  If you are able to tolerate these foods and are feeling better later in the day, you may advance to foods that are normally served hot such as soup, mashed potatoes and eggs being sure not to prepare them so that they are too hot.

Medication – If your doctor has prescribed medication to control pain and to prevent infection and swelling, please take them only as directed.  Remember to have some food in your stomach before taking them and call your doctor if you have any difficulties with the medications.

Cleaning Your Mouth – Practice normal, oral hygiene after surgery using care not to brush in the surgical area until it is no longer tender.  The day after surgery, gently rinse your mouth with salt water (½ teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water) several times a day over the next few days.

Questions and Problems – If you have any questions or problems following your surgery, please call our office during normal business hours which are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.