Tooth Extraction Post-Op
Bleeding after surgery may continue for several hours. The best way to stop bleeding is to fold 2 pieces of damp gauze over the extraction site and gently bite for 30-60 minutes making sure pressure is being applied to the extraction site. Rest quietly with your head elevated. If bleeding continues, use gauze for an additional 30 minutes. Bleeding should always be evaluated by looking directly at the surgical site. Pink or blood-tinged saliva may be seen for 2-3 days following the surgery and does not indicate a problem.
Bad breath is common and will disappear as healing occurs. Two to three days following surgery, white, possible hard tissue may be seen in the surgical site. This signifies normal, healing tissue. Complete healing of the extraction site may take 6-8 weeks.
Swelling is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and healing. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following the extraction surgery and will not reach its peak for 2-3 days. It should decrease after this time, but swelling may last for 7-10 days.
Swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Apply the ice packs to the outside of the face 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off while awake for the first 24 hours. After 48 hours, begin use of a warm, moist compress to the cheek.
For the first 24 hours you should rest and relax with no physical activity. After 24 hours, you may resume activity as tolerated. You may return to school/work as long as you are not taking the prescribed pain medication.
Unfortunately, most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. If you do not have an allergy to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) we recommend taking this prior to the local anesthetic wearing off. More severe pain may require a narcotic pain medication. Take the narcotic medication and 400mg (2 tablets / 200mg each) of Ibuprofen together every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. While taking a narcotic pain medication you may not drive or operate mechanical machinery. The prescribed pain medication will make you drowsy. Once you feel like you can stop the narcotic, use Ibuprofen and Tylenol together as needed. All medication should NOT exceed the recommended dosage.
*NOTE: If you are taking Plavix or Coumadin, do NOT take Ibuprofen or Aspirin products.
Discomfort should subside daily. If not, please call our office.
If a dry socket occurs (loss of blood clot from the socket) there is constant pain that may radiate to other areas including the ear, jaw, and teeth. Symptoms of a dry socket do not typically occur until the 5th to 7th day after the procedure. If you do not have improvement during the first few days following the procedure, call the office. A medicated dressing may be placed or a medicated syringe may be given if the medications taken by mouth do not resolve the discomfort.
To help prevent a dry socket avoid vigorous rinsing, sucking on the wound, spitting, using a straw, smoking, and exercising for 2-3 days after the procedure. You may gently rinse your mouth with a dilute mouth rinse of your choice after one day.
After general anesthetic or I.V. sedation, start with liquids. While numb, patients should avoid hot liquids or foods. Patients may have applesauce, pudding, or jello. Once the numbness wears off patients can progress to solid foods, chewing away from the surgical sites. Patients should avoid foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, popcorn, etc., which may get lodged in the socket areas.
Foods to Drink and Eat While Numb
- Ice Chips
- Milkshake (no straw)
Soft Foods When Numbness is Gone:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Creamed Cereals
- Soups (not too hot)
If you suddenly sit or stand from a lying position you may become dizzy, especially if you have not eaten or have had limited fluids. Therefore, immediately following surgery, if you are lying down, make sure to sit for at least one full minute before standing.
If an antibiotic is prescribed, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Take the entire prescription until gone. Antibiotics can be given to help prevent infection. Make sure to call the office if a rash or other unfavorable reaction occurs.
The best way to prevent infection and ensure healing is to keep your mouth clean. Clean your mouth thoroughly after each meal beginning the day after surgery. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste after meals and at bedtime. Should bleeding resume after brushing, repeat the use of gauze as described above. Do not rinse your mouth the day of surgery.
Sutures will resorb or fall out on their own. It is normal for a suture to come out on the day of surgery. If bleeding occurs because the sutures have fallen out, bite on gauze to apply pressure as described.
We are committed to providing the highest quality care in a comfortable and compassionate environment.