After Tooth Extraction

If you have any questions about the instructions below, please call the office in which you were seen.

IMPORTANT: If you have Caller Block/ Caller ID, be sure to turn it off before calling the answering service for a return call from our Doctors. 


For the first 30 minutes after leaving the office, keep the gauze that was placed over the surgical site in place and then gently remove it. If there is still active bleeding, replace it with a fresh, moistened, rolled up piece of gauze. Bite down gently but firmly for 45 minutes. Repeat as necessary until bleeding is minimal. It is not unusual to have residual bleeding after tooth extraction for up to 24 hours. It is advisable to use an old pillow case as not to damage your favorite ones. Please remove the gauze when you eat or drink. Do not sleep with the gauze in your mouth. Pay special attention to the placement of the gauze , making sure it is over the surgical site and not just between the teeth.


Some bleeding after surgery is expected. If  bleeding is moderate in spite of the above instructions biting on a regular caffeinated tea bag (Non herbal) for 45 minutes may hasten the bleeding. Additionally, having your head elevated is also very helpful. Make sure if you are currently prescribed blood pressure medications that you have taken them. If the bleeding is severe or is continuous that you call our office.


Post operative swelling is a normal part of healing and tends to peak 2 to 3 days after surgery and may last up to a week. If instructed to do so, apply ice to cheek.  Apply for 20 minutes with 20 minutes of break and repeat for first 24-48 hours only.  Applying ice beyond the recommended time period may precipitate an infection.  Do NOT apply ice if the swelling you have is as a result of an infection.  Keeping your head elevated for the first several days will help to reduce facial swelling. 


If prescriptions were given to you by your doctor, please use as prescribed. Nausea is rare but can occur after surgery, anesthesia or with use of narcotic pain medications.  Taking medications with meals may help avoid stomach upset. Antibiotics, if prescribed, are taken to completion unless drug complications develop. 

Oral Hygiene

Do not brush your teeth or rinse your mouth for the first 12 hours.  Thereafter, you may brush in the non-surgical area and rinse your mouth gently 4 times a day (after meals and at bedtime) for one week. 


Its important to eat as soon as you get home being careful in areas of the mouth that is still numb.  Drink plenty of fluids and maintain good nutrition with soft foods for the first 2-3 days.  (Scrambled eggs, yogurt, soup, apple sauce, anything pureed, etc)  Avoid small grains, very hot foods or crunchy foods like nuts or chips for several days as these may get lodged in the sockets.  If you are a diabetic it is especially important to maintain your usual intake and check your blood glucose regularly.  


Smoking causes irritation and delays normal healing.  It has also shown to increase your risk of oral cancer.

Dry Socket

Healing can be delayed if the blood clot filling the socket dissolves or is washed away, exposing the bone.  This may lead to a constant deep or throbbing pain, which can also radiate to the ear.  Your pain medications may not be effective with dry socket but it can be easily treated with a medicated dressing.  It is rare but may occur 4-5 days after an extraction.  If you suspect you have a dry socket, contact the office early morning so that we can assist you appropriately. 

Bone Spur

Occasionally after surgery small edges of bone may become exposed, most commonly on the tongue-side of lower teeth.  If these occur, please call the office in which you were seen and make an appointment for their simple removal.

Bone Graft

If you had a bone graft with your extraction please see the section marked after bone graft.