Post Tooth Extraction Instructions

The Day of Surgery

  • Bleeding: If given gauze, change it as directed every 20-30 minutes until active bleeding has subsided (usually 2-3 hours).
    • Make sure to apply good pressure to the gauze.
    • You may remove gauze to begin drinking, but return fresh gauze to extraction site(s) if bleeding is still present.
    • It is normal to experience light bleeding for up to 24 hours. If there is severe bleeding follow the instructions at the bottom of the form under “Excessive Bleeding”
  • Do not brush your teeth, rinse your mouth or spit.
  • Do not drink through a straw.
  • Swelling: Ice packs may be used to reduce swelling. Rotate ice pack on and off or side to side every 30 minutes for 24 hours.
  • If sedated, once home, begin to drink. Start first with clear liquids, and then gradually advance to soup, and soft foods.
  • Driving: If sedated do not drive for 24 hours following surgery.
  • Smoking/Alcohol: Avoid alcohol or smoking today and for a week following surgery.
  • Numbness: You will probably remain numb for several hours after surgery, so it is recommended that you begin to drink fluids, and take pain medication (over the counter or prescribed) before the anesthetic wears off (or when you begin to feel a tingling sensation).
  • Medications: You may be given any of the following medications:
    • Pain medicine: should be taken as needed. You may take ibuprofen (400-600mg every 6 hours) in addition to or instead of your prescription pain medication. While taking prescription medication, do not drive or operate heavy machinery. Be sure to eat something prior to taking pain medicine to reduce nausea.
    • Antibiotic: should be taken as directed until gone. Be aware that some antibiotics can reduce the contraceptive effect of birth control pills. Please contact your gynecologist or pharmacist if you have concerns.
    • Nausea medicine: should be taken as needed. You may take the nausea medication in conjunction with the pain medication to help with discomfort. While taking this medication, do not drive or operate heavy machinery.
    • Mouth rinse: use as directed on the bottle.
    • *No prescriptions will be called in after hours. If you are a current patient and anticipate the need for a refill on your medication or a new prescription, please contact our office during regular business hours. Please have your pharmacy phone number available before you call.
  • If you wear an immediate denture, partial or flipper leave it in your mouth until your return visit or visit with dentist.
  • After hours: For current patients of our practice, there is a doctor on call 24 hours a day. If a situation develops after our office hours that is a medical emergency, you may call our office, follow the prompts, and a doctor will be paged. It is only necessary to leave your name and phone number on the message. Please be aware that the doctor will return your call as soon as possible. Most calls are returned within 30 minutes, but if the doctor is in the emergency room or in surgery, the response may be delayed.

The First Day after Surgery

  • Hygiene: Return to your normal brushing routine, being very careful around extraction site(s).
  • Avoid using full-strength mouthwashes for 2 weeks.
  • Begin using a warm salt-water rinse (1/4 teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water) every 2-3 hours for 3 days.
  • Pain and swelling is normal and expected, and may last for 10-14 days. Don’t be alarmed if the third day is the worst.
  • Continue eating soft foods. You may begin to gradually return to your normal diet as tolerated.
  • Avoid spicy foods and drinks for 2 weeks.

The Following Days after Surgery

  • Sutures/Stitches: You may have sutures placed in your mouth to control the bleeding and hasten healing. They will dissolve on their own over 3-7 days.
  • If you have been given an irrigation syringe, beginning on the 3rd day following surgery, fill it with salt water to flush the lower molar sockets. Use syringe 1-2 times daily for 3-4 weeks (until socket is closed).
  • If swelling is still present on the 4th or 5th day following surgery, then begin using a warm moist compress for the next several days.

Excessive Bleeding (Only follow these instructions if experiencing severe bleeding)

  • Rinse mouth with cool water and gently wipe away blood clots with a clean piece of gauze or a tissue.
  • Take a large amount of gauze or 2 tea bags moistened with water and place over bleeding area and close mouth, applying constant pressure.
  • Remain quiet and in a sitting position for 20-30 minutes.
  • Repeat steps 1 and 3 until bleeding is controlled.
  • If these instructions have been followed in detail and excessive bleeding persists, you should call our office.