Tooth Extraction Post-Operative Instructions

What to do After Tooth Extraction:

Control Bleeding

    Bite firmly the gauze pack over the surgical area for, at least, 1/2 hour; then discard it gently.
    Some blood will ooze from the area of surgery for several hours and it is normal.
    Do not spit, or suck through a straw, since can cause dry socket or loss of the blood clot
    When bleeding persists at home, place a gauze pad or cold wet teabag over the area and bite firmly for 30 minutes.
    Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue.
    Keep your head elevated on several pillows or sit in a lounge chair for 12 hours.
    DO NOT SMOKE for at least 24 hours after surgery because this will cause bleeding, pain and interfere with healing. It is recommended to not smoke for 7 days after surgery, besides this might be a great opportunity for smoking cessation.

Do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth for the first 6 hours after the surgical appointment. Then use warm salt water (1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of warm water) after tooth-brushing and every 2 hours.

Bacterial Plaque Control
Brush the teeth gently.
Avoid the surgical site.

Get plenty of rest, at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Avoid strenuous exercise during the first 24 hours, and keep the mouth from excessive movement. Physical activity can cause bleeding, loss of the blood clot, and slow healing time.


    Use a liquid or soft diet high in protein.
    Drink a large volume of water and fruit juices.
    Do not drink through a straw because this may promote bleeding.
    Avoid hot food for the first 24 hours after surgery because this may promote bleeding.
    Eat a soft diet for the first 24 hours after tooth extraction.
    Avoid foods that require excessive chewing.
    You can resume a normal diet the day after tooth removal.

Pain and Discomfort
Some discomfort is normal after surgery. It can be controlled by taking the pain medication your dentist has prescribed or recommended.
Start taking your pain pills before the numbing medication has worn off.
Take your pain pill with an 8 oz. glass of water and/or a small amount of food to prevent nausea.

Swelling and Ice-packs
Swelling after surgery is a normal body reaction.
Swelling reaches its maximum about 48 hours after surgery, and usually lasts 4-6 days.
Applying ice packs over the area for the first 24 hours (no longer than 20 minutes at a time) helps control swelling and may you more comfortable.
Heat is not used for swelling.

You may experience some mild bruising in the area of your surgery.
This is a normal response in some persons and should not be cause for alarm.
It will disappear in 7-14 days.

Sutures or Stitches
If stitches were placed in area of your surgery, your dentist will tell you if and when they need to be removed (usually in about 1 week).
Many times stitches are used which are self-dissolving (7-10 days) and do not require removal.

The removal of impacted wisdom teeth and surgical extraction of teeth is quite different from the extraction of erupted teeth. The following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal:

    The surgical area will swell.
    Swelling peaks on the 2nd or 3rd post-operative day
    Trismus (stiffness) of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening your mouth for a period of days.
    You may have a slight earache.
    A sore throat may develop.
    Your other teeth may ache temporarily. This is referred pain and is a temporary condition.
    If the corners of the mouth are stretched out they may dry and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with cream or ointment.
    There will be a space where the tooth was removed. After 24 hours this area should be rinsed following meals with warm salt water until it is healed. This cavity will gradually fill in with new tissue.
    There may be a slight elevation of temperature for 24 to 48 hours. If temperature continues, notify us.
    It is not unusual to develop bruising in the area of an extraction.

Call your Dentist or a Hospital Emergency Room if:

    You experience discomfort you cannot control with your pain pills.
    You have bleeding that you cannot control by biting on gauze.
    You have increased swelling after the third day following surgery.
    You have a fever.
    You have any questions.

Keeping Infection Under Control After Tooth Extraction:
The removal of teeth can allow germs in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of your body.

If you have difficulty fighting off infections you may need to take antibiotics after tooth extraction. This includes those who:

    Have had bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the heart.
    Were born with heart defects.
    Have damaged or artificial heart valves.
    Have artificial joints, such as a hip replacement.
    Have diabetes or another disease that causes an impaired immune system.
    Take steroids for other conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or asthma.

Feel free to contact us if any doubt arises as to your progress and recovery.

Instructional Videos:
Post-op Instructions for an Extraction