Postoperative Instructions

A Few Simple Guidelines

Before the extraction, you will be given an anesthetic to reduce your discomfort.  Your mouth will remain numb for a few hours after the extraction.  While your mouth is numb, you’ll want to be careful not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue.  After the extraction, do not eat any foods that require chewing while your mouth is numb.  The numbness should go away within several hours (<4 to 6hrs).

We will place a gauze pack on the extraction site to limit bleeding.  This will also help a blood clot to form, which is necessary for normal healing.  This gauze pack should be left in place for ~45 minutes after you leave the dental office.

Do not chew on the pack.  There may be some bleeding or oozing after the packing is removed.  If so, here’s what to do:

  •  Fold a piece of clean gauze into a pad thick enough to bite on.  Dampen the pad with clean, warm water and place it directly on the extraction site.
  • Apply pressure by closing your teeth firmly on the gauze pad.  Maintain this pressure for about 30 minutes.  If the pad becomes soaked with blood, replace it with a clean one.
  • DO NOT suck on the extraction site or disturb it with your tongue.
  • A slight amount of blood may leak from the extraction site until a clot forms.  However, if heavy bleeding continues, call our office.  (Remember, though, that a little bit of blood mixed with saliva can look like a lot of bleeding.)

The blood clot that forms in the tooth socket is an important part of the normal healing process.  You should avoid doing things that might disturb the clot.  Here’s how to protect it:

  • Do not smoke, or rinse your mouth, or drink through a straw for 24 hours.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages or mouthwash for 24 hours.
  • Limit strenuous activity for 24 hours after the extraction.  This will reduce bleeding and help the blood clot to form.
  • Sometimes the blood clot does not form in the first day or two after the extraction, or it forms but breaks down for some reason.  The result is a dry socket.  This can be very painful and should be reported to our doctors.  A dressing may be placed in the socket to protect it until the socket heals and to reduce any pain.


We regularly prescribe medicine to control pain and inflammation, or to prevent infection, use it only as directed.  If the pain medication prescribed does not seem to work for you, do not take more pills or take them more often than directed – call our office.  Also remember, pain medications are used to reduce pain NOT to completely eliminate pain.

Do not clean the teeth next to the healing tooth socket for the rest of the day.  You should, however, brush and floss your other teeth well and begin cleaning the teeth next to the healing tooth socket the next day.  You can also brush your tongue.  This will help get rid of the bad breath and unpleasant taste that are common after an extraction.

The day after the extraction, hently rinse your mouth with war salt water (half a teaspoon salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water) after meals to keep food particles out for the extraction site.  Try not to rinse your mouth vigorously, as this may loosen the blood clot.  If you have hypertension, discuss with your dentist whether you  should rinse with salt water.  Avoid using a mouthwash during this early healing period unless your dentist advises you to do so.

After a tooth is removed, you may have some discomfort and notice some swelling.  This is normal and is usually not associate with any infection.  To help reduce swelling and pain, try applying and ice bag or cold, moist cloth to your face.  We may give you specific instructions on how long and often to use a cold compress. (NEVER place ice or ice packs directly to skin.  NEVER apply cold compresses for more than 30 minutes.  Always allow time in between applications of cold compresses to prevent damage from occurring to your skin.)

After the extraction, drink lots of liquids and eat soft, nutritious foods.  Avoid hot liquids and alcoholic beverages.  Do not use a straw.  Begin eating solids foods the next day or as soon as you can chew comfortably.  For the first few days, try to chew food on the side opposite the extraction site.  When it feels comfortable, you should resume chewing on both sides of your mouth.

If you have any of the following issues, call your dentist immediately.  If you cannot reach your dentist, go to a hospital emergency room.

  • fever, nausea or vomiting
  • ongoing or severe pain, swelling or bleeding
  • pain that gets worse with time instead of better


We can be reached at 606.877.1466