Home Care Instructions Following Tooth Extractions

It is normal to experience some bleeding, discomfort, minor swelling, and slight facial bruising at or near the extraction site following dental extractions as these are the result of the body’s natural reaction to surgery. Always follow your dentist’s instructions and refer to the following to aid in minimizing any post-surgical complications:

1. Take/resume any regularly scheduled medications, vitamins, etc. as you normally would unless advised to do otherwise.

2. Keep pressure at the extraction site(s) by biting on sterile gauze given to you following the procedure.

3. Change the gauze every 30 minutes or as needed until the bleeding stops. If minor bleeding continues, you may soak the gauze in regular tea prior to biting on it. Often, there is slight oozing and when mixed with saliva, appears to be more excessive than it really is. Do not be alarmed.

4. AVOID SMOKING COMPLETELY as it tends to delay healing and increases the chance for infection.

5.  Beginning the day after and for 1 week following surgery, very gently rinse with warm salt water 3-4 times daily, especially after meals.

6. Continue with your regular dental hygiene regimen, but be very careful when brushing near the extraction site(s). Avoid using a Water Pik during the initial 2 week healing period.

7. Over the counter mouthwash may be resumed after 7 days.

8. Swelling is a natural part of the healing process and can be expected for 3-7 days depending on the nature and extent of the surgery. In case of swelling, ice packs may be applied in 10 minute intervals during the first 36-48 hours after surgery. After this, warm compresses may be used.

9. Sleep with your head elevated slightly above your heart to help minimize any swelling. (Use 2 pillows).

10. Begin a complete, but soft diet as soon as the numbness wears off. Be sure to eat the appropriate dietary requirements and drink plenty of fluids. A nutritious diet during the healing period is very important. Resume a regular diet as soon as you can.

11. Avoid very hot, crunchy, or spicy foods/drinks for the first week of healing.

12. Avoid foods and/or fruits which contain seeds, nuts, or kernels such as popcorn, peanuts, strawberries.

13 .Do NOT drink through a straw during the healing period as this may dislodge the blood clot and disrupt the healing process.

14. Refrain from drinking carbonated beverages the first 24 hours after surgery.

15. Control pain/inflammation using non-aspirin medication such as OTC Motrin, Advil, Aleve, or Extra Strength Tylenol and refer to the product label for directions on proper dosing. For moderate to severe pain, the prescribed medications should be taken as directed.

16. Be sure to take all prescribed medications as directed to include antibiotics to help prevent infection. Female patients need to be aware that antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

17. Do not consume alcohol for several days after surgery as this may complicate healing. Also, alcohol is not advised while taking any medications.

18. Avoid strenuous activities and keep exercise to a minimum during the first 5 days after surgery.

19. Avoid all activities that require your full, alert attention while under the influence of any narcotic pain medication as they may cause drowsiness and impair your abilities. Do not drive, operate machinery, climb ladders, or make any important financial decisions until the medication has worn off.

20. Sutures, if placed, will most likely dissolve on their own. Do NOT disturb these as they may fall out prematurely, possibly complicating the healing process.

21. Please keep all recommended follow-up appointments to ensure the best result.

22. Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with the above listed or prescription medications, should severe swelling develop, or should you experience any unusual symptoms, please contact the office promptly.