After Extractions

Sometimes the after-effects of oral surgery are quite minimal, so not all instructions will be applicable to each patient.  Common sense will often dictate what you should do.  However, when in doubt follow these guidelines or call our office for clarification.  

First Hour: After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process.   Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze packs that have been placed over the surgical areas for at lease 1 hour, making sure they remain in place.  Replace gauze if it becomes saturated due to bleeding (see instructions below for persistent bleeding). 

Exercise Care:  After the blood clot forms it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot.  Do not disturb the surgical area today.  You may brush your teeth gently, but do not rinse vigorously or probe the area with any objects.   Do not suck on straws, smoke, or drink alcohol for at least 5 days. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process or lead to dry socket. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 5 days, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

Persistent Bleeding & Oozing:  Intermittent bleeding or oozing in  normal.  Bleeding may controlled by placing fresh gauze over the areas and biting on the gauze for 30-45 minutes at a time. 

  • Moisten gauze with tap water and loosely fluff for more comfortable positioning.   Typically by bedtime on the day of your surgery the bleeding should be minimal enough to discontinue gauze. 

Bleeding should never be severe.  If so, it usually means that the packs are being clenched between teeth only and are not exerting pressure on the surgical areas.  Try re-positioning the packs.  

  • If bleeding persists or becomes heavy you may substitute a tea bag (soaked in cold water, squeezed damp-dry and wrapped in moist gauze) for 20-30 minutes.  If bleeding remains uncontrolled, please call our office. 

Swelling:  Swelling is often associated with oral surgery.  Minimize swelling by using a cold pack, ice bag or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and applied firmly to the cheek adjacent to the surgical area.  

  • Apply ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off during the first 2-3 days post-surgery

Swelling will gradually increase and peak around day 3 post-surgery.  Swelling will then begin to subside by day 5 post-surgery.  

Pain:  Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort.  You will usually have a prescription for pain medicine.  We suggest taking the first pill before the anesthetic has worn off (about 4-6 hours after surgery).  It is not advisable to take prescription pain medication at more frequent intervals than the instructions on the bottle.  If you are not able to manage the pain based on the prescription instructions, please contact our office. 

Nausea:  Nausea is not uncommon after surgery; sometimes pain medications are the cause.  

  • Precede each pain pill with a small amount of soft food and a large glass of water.
  • Continue drinking clear fluids and minimize dosing of pain medications.
  • Call our office if nausea persists. 

Diet:  You may eat whatever you can tolerate; however, avoid extremely hot foods and foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, chips, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas.  

  • It is important not to skip meals.  If you take nourishment regularly you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort and heal faster. 
  • If you are a diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits or follow instructions given by your doctor.  

Sharp Edges:  If you feel something sharp or hard in the surgical areas, it is likely you are feeling the bony walls which once supported the extracted teeth.  Occasionally small slivers of bone may work themselves out during the following week or so.  If they cause concern or discomfort, please call our office.  

Mouth Rinses: Keeping your mouth clean after surgery is essential.

  • Days 1 & 2: Use 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce glass of warm water and gently rinse with portions of the solution, taking 5 minutes to use the entire glassful.  Repeat as often as you like, but at least 2-3 times daily. 
  • Day 3: Begin using the syringe daily to gently flush the areas until the socket is completely closed, using the same saline solution.  

Brushing: Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible after surgery.  Soreness and swelling may not permit vigorous brushing, but please make every effort to clean your teeth within the bounds of comfort. 

Healing: The first 2-3 days after surgery are generally the most uncomfortable and swelling is expected and normal.  The swelling will begin to subside by the fourth day.  The remainder of the post-operative course should be gradual, steady improvement.   If you don’t experience continued improvement, please call our office. 

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible.  If you have questions about your progress, please call our office.  

A 24- hour answering service is available to contact the doctor on call after hours for emergency situations only.  Non- emergent questions/concerns should be addressed during office hours.  

If you have surgical complications and need to be seen on a Friday please call by 10:00 am as we close at 1:00 pm.  

Please note:  We can no longer call in narcotic pain medications.  You must call the office during office hours and come pick-up a physical prescription.