Surgical Instructions
After Tooth Extractions

BE CAREFUL: After an extraction a blood clot will form where the tooth was. This clot is like a scab. It is important to be very gentle to the extraction area so that the clot is not lost because this will increase the time it takes for healing to occur. Also, if the clot is lost you will have a greater chance of getting an infection or dry socket in the extraction site. To help avoid complications, follow the rec­ommendations that follow.

TAKE IT EASY: Lower your activity level as much as possible the day of the extraction. Strenuous activities such as running, weightlifting, swimming, etc. will increase the risk of bleeding.

BLEEDING: After an extraction, a gauze pack is placed over the extraction site to prevent excessive bleeding and to promote the healing blood clot. Keep constant pressure on the gauze for 30 min­utes. After you remove the gauze, if there is no bleeding, then you need not place another gauze. If bleeding is still occurring then place another rolled gauze, soaked in cold water, right over where the tooth was and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. It is not uncommon to need to repeat this process three or four times. A slight oozing of blood may continue for 1 day and is normal.

RINSING: Do not rinse your mouth until the numbness has completely worn off. After the numbness has worn off you may rinse VERY GENTLY. Tomorrow you can rinse your mouth gently with a glass of warm water mixed with a level teaspoon of salt. You may do this as often as you like.

SWELLING: Following an extraction, some swelling and skin bruising may occur. An ice bag applied to the cheek will keep it to a minimum. Place on affected area for about 20 minutes of every hour for the next 6 hours.  An increase in swelling and pain after 1 or 2 days can be a sign of an infection.  Please call the office if you notice this occurring and we will evaluate weather you may require an antibiotic.

MEDICATIONS: Do not use aspirin as it increases bleeding and swelling. Tylenol is fine. An ibuprofin, such as Advil or Nuprin is highly recommended. If a stronger pain reliever has been prescribed you may take it if needed. Be sure to follow the prescription.

FOOD: Do not eat until the numbness completely wears off! For the first day, stick to softer and cooler foods. Chew on the side opposite the extraction. Tomorrow you may eat any foods you feel com­fortable with.

SMOKING: Do not smoke or use other tobacco products for 3 days.  Smoking interferes with the healing process and increases the chance of infection and dry socket.

BRUSHING: Continue brushing and flossing, being extra gentle near the extraction site. Do not use toothpaste on the day of the extraction, as you will need to rinse too hard to get the suds out of your mouth.

DRY SOCKET: In the days that follow your tooth extraction, pain should gradually subside.  Rarely, pain may increase to a throbbing pain the shoots up towards the ear.  Often this is a case of dry socket.  Dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes irritated and is lost before healing is complete.  Food and debris can get into the socket causing irritation.  Tobacco users and women taking oral contraceptives are at a higher risk of getting dry socket.  Dry socket is not an infection and does not respond to antibiotics.  It does require a visit to the office for a wound dressing.  If you think you may be suffering from a dry socket, please contact the office immediately.

BONE CHIPS: During healing you may notice small bony fragments working their way through the gums. We can easily remove them if they are annoying.