After Tooth Extractions

There are a number of reasons that your dentist might recommend a tooth extraction. Some dental patients suffer from tooth decay; others need to remove teeth hindering orthodontic treatment, whereas various patients simply need wisdom teeth removal. While a tooth extraction can be a serious dental procedure, aftercare is just as critical as the procedure itself. As the dental patient, it is important to understand that pain and the risk of infection can be lessened with proper care.

Post Operative Instructions for Extractions and Oral Surgery

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.
● 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.

● Oral hygiene:  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.

Discomfort: Over-the-counter- pain medication (Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Tylenol)
may be taken as directed on the bottle to relieve discomfort. Example: You may
take a combination of 400 to 600 mg of Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours, and one Tylenol
every 4-6 hours.

● Swelling: Apply cold compresses to 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.

● Bleeding: 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
and keep your head elevated. Call the office if the bleeding does not subside.

● Diet: Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid carbonated and alcoholic beverages. A soft diet
is recommended. It is normal to have a little tenderness while chewing and
difficulty opening wide.

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

● Prescriptions: If you have been prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed
until they are all gone, even if symptoms improve. 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.

In case of any unusual disturbances, questions or any post surgical problems, please
call the office, 252-445-5998. 


Possible complications after a tooth extraction

Bleeding – Bleeding after a tooth extraction is entirely normal. A pinkish tinted saliva and subtle oozing is fairly common during the first 36 hours. If bleeding gets excessive, control it by using dampened gauze pads and biting down to keep pressure on the area. As an alternative to gauze pads, a moistened tea bag can be used, as the tannic acid helps blood vessels contract. Apply pressure to the gauze or tea bag by gently biting down for 30 minutes. Please remember that raised tempers, sitting upright, and exercise can all increase blood flow to the head, which can cause excess bleeding. Try to avoid these as much as possible. If your bleeding does not reduce after 48 hours, please call the practice.

Bone sequestra (dead tooth fragments) – Some patients have small sharp tooth fragments that were unable to be completely removed during surgery. During the recovery period, these dead bone fragments, or bone sequestra, slowly work themselves through the gums as a natural healing process. This can be a little painful until the sequestra are removed so please call our practice immediately if you notice any sharp fragments poking through the surgery site.

Dry socket – In the days that follow your tooth extraction, pain should gradually subside. Rarely, patients report that pain increases to a throbbing unbearable pain that shoots up towards the ear. Often this is a case of dry socket. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes irritated and ousted before healing is complete. Food and debris can then 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 but does require a visit to our office. If you think you may be suffering from dry socket, please contact the practice immediately.

Lightheadedness - Because you may have been fasting prior to surgery, your blood sugar levels may be lower than normal. Until your body has had the chance to catch up and process some sugars, you should remember to stand up slowly when getting up from a relaxed position. For somewhat immediate relief, try eating something soft and sugary, stay in a relaxed position, and reduce the elevation of your head.

Numbness – Many patients report still feeling numb hours after their tooth extraction procedure. An extended lack of feeling around the mouth is normal and can last 10-12 hours after surgery.

Swelling – Swelling should subside almost entirely within 10 days after surgery. Immediately following your tooth extraction, apply an ice pack to the facial areas near the extraction. Continue using the ice in 15 minute intervals for the first 36 hours. After 36 hours, ice will no longer be beneficial in reducing swelling and moist heat should be used instead. To decrease swelling, apply a warm damp cloth to the sides of your face.

Trismus (difficulty opening and closing mouth) – If you experience a sore jaw and difficulty chewing or swallowing, do not be alarmed. Occasionally patients’ chewing muscles and jaw joints remain sore 3-5 days after surgery. This soreness can also make it difficult to open and close your mouth. Soreness should eventually subside.

If you have any worries, or are experiencing any complications not mentioned, please contact our practice immediately so that we may address your concerns.

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Tuesday - 8:30 AM - 5 PM

Wednesday - 8:30 AM - 5 PM

Thursday - 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM

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