Tooth Extraction Post-Op

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Dos and dont’s following tooth extraction:

If you want to heal quickly and avoid complications, it’s important that you follow these instructions:

  • Place guaze and keep firm pressure on the tooth extraction site for 20 minutes after surgery. Remove the gauze every 20 minutes and continue applying fresh gauze. Repeat this until the bleeding stops.
  • Drink plenty of fluids over the next two days. Eat only soft foods and try to avoid chewing on the tooth extraction site. Also, avoid foods with small kernels like nuts or popcorn as you don’t want them to get stuck in the hole!
  • Be careful not to eat while you are still numb to prevent biting your lips, cheeks or tongue.
  • No rinsing, spitting or drinking through a straw, or any kind of suction in mouth for 24 hours.
  • No smoking or tobacco products for at least 48 hours. Nicotine is extremely detrimental to the healing process.

What happens if I don’t follow these instructions?

If you don’t follow instructions, you could disrupt the blood clot that is forming. This can lead to pain, excessive bleeding and delayed healing. In the worse cases, this leads to a Dry Socket” which is very painful and takes weeks to resolve itself.

Dos and dont’s for the next few days after tooth extraction

The majority of healing after a tooth extraction happens within the first 2 to 3 days. Here is what you should be aware of during this time period:

  • Often there you will experience some swelling after oral surgery. Swelling can be minimized by using an ice-pack approximately 15-20 minutes on-and-off during the first 12 to 24 hours. Using an ice-pack helps keep the swelling down and makes you comfortable.
  • Take your antibiotics and pain medication with food to prevent stomach upset. Try to take your medication as soon as possible so when the anesthetic wears off you are feeling the effects. Be sure to finish all of your antibiotics. Take the painkillers for the first few days and feel free to stop using them once the pain has gone away.
  • Remember that the worst discomfort is usually within the first 6 hours after the anesthetic wears off. Take your medication and plan on getting as much rest as possible.
  • Sleep with head slightly elevated the first night after oral surgery. Starting the next day, rinse with warm salt-water (1 tsp salt to 8 oz of water), 4 to 5 times a day. Continue this routine for the next week.
  • Begin your normal oral hygiene routine as soon as possible within the bounds of comfort. By a week after surgery, you should be back to brushing as you normally would.

When is my next appointment?

We usually see our extraction patients within one to two weeks after surgery. During your post-op appointment, we will remove any sutures and discuss your healing. If your sutures loosen before your appointment, don’t panic. So long as there is no signs of infection, allow time for the area to heal and be patient. If you have any other questions or are in extreme discomfort, call us at (949) 481-2540 immediately.