Tooth extraction: home care instructions


Recently had an extraction? Following all the post-operative instructions after tooth extraction reduces the incidence of infection & chances of dry socket.

Day 1

Continue biting on the gauze for 30-60 minutes following your procedure. Do NOT spit, rinse, suck (using a straw), smoke, drink carbonated or alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours. Passively empty your mouth when needed.
The goal is to keep blood clot in the socket to prevent bleeding and a painful complication known as DRY SOCKET.

Day 2

You will most likely experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Minor pain, swelling, bruising, limitation in opening or closing your mouth, pain in jaw or ear, sore throat. It is important to listen to your body and take it easy.
No heavy lifting, spitting, sucking, alcohol or smoking.

Detail instructions


If you leave the office with a gauze sponge in your mouth, you may discard it once you return home as long as the bleeding has stopped unless you have been instructed otherwise. DO NOT sleep with the gauze sponge in your mouth.


Start gently brushing the teeth the first evening, using hot water to soften the toothbrush bristles. Toothpaste is generally O.K. Take special care to be gentle around the surgical areas.


Brush gently. A gentle lukewarm salt water rinse can be used to freshen your mouth. But again, do not spit; just let the fluid passively empty. The corners of your mouth may become cracked and dry – moisturize frequently.


Over-the-counter- pain medication may be taken as directed on the bottle to relieve discomfort.


Some discomfort may be present for 7-10 days following the simplest surgery. This is common after oral surgery and may last as long as 7-10 days. Swelling may reach its peak 3 days after surgery, and even if it is severe it is ordinarily no cause for alarm. Apply cold compresses to the affected area at 10-minute intervals for the first 24 hours to minimize swelling. Any swelling that occurs usually begins to diminish within 72 hours; call the office if there is no change.


The skin in the area of the surgery may become yellow, black and blue. This will gradually disappear within 10 – 21 days and requires no treatment.


Some oozing of blood is normal for the first 12-24 hours. Put a hand towel on your pillow as some drooling can occur when you are numb. If you experience excessive bleeding, apply firm pressure with 1-2 folded gauze pads or damp tea bag on the affected area for 30-60 minutes and keep your head elevated. Call the office if the bleeding does not subside.


– Drink plenty of fluids
– Avoid carbonated and alcoholic beverages
– A soft diet will be easiest: yogurt, milkshakes (no straw), soups, fish, pasta
– Foods rich in protein-eggs, meats, cottage cheese-is desirable to promote healing
– Nothing too spicy is recommended
– DO NOT use a straw for the first 2 weeks after surgery
– Avoid rice and brittle, crunchy or chewy foods for several days
– It is normal to have a little tenderness while chewing and difficulty opening wide


If you have received sutures, avoid playing with them. A fifteen-minute appointment will be needed to remove the sutures in 7-10 days.


If you have been prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed until they are all gone, even if symptoms dissipate. Some antibiotics can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills or other medications. If pain medication or a mouth rinse is prescribed take as directed.


You should not smoke for 5-7 days after surgery. One cigarette may dramatically increase your pain and slow the healing.


About Author:  Ly Tran is the director of Lotus Dental Travel – a dental tourism facilitator based in Vietnam.

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