Dental Extraction

Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your dentist may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your dentist if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Special care is needed after a tooth is pulled (extracted) to prevent bleeding, pain, and infection. Usually, your jaw is numbed when a tooth is extracted. This numbness usually goes away after 3 to 4 hours.

  • Protect the area where your tooth was extracted, even if there is no pain.

  • Expect a small amount of bleeding. This is normal. Also, the pain and swelling should be much better in 3 days.

  • Do not smoke, spit, or drink through a straw for several days.

  • Do not rinse the day of the surgery. Avoid rinsing your mouth out too vigorously. This can break up the clot that forms where your tooth was extracted.

  • Put ice on the jaw for the next 2 days if you have swelling.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between the skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

  • Brush your other teeth. Do not brush or floss near the tooth socket where your tooth was extracted.

  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water 2 to 3 days after surgery.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, fever, or discomfort as directed by your dentist.

  • Take all antibiotic medicines as directed. Finish them even if you start to feel better. Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is an abscess or increased risk of infection.

  • If your gum tissue bleeds heavily, fold a clean piece of gauze and place it on the bleeding gum.

  • Bite on this for 20 minutes.

  • Do not chew on the gauze.

  • Change the gauze as needed.

  • If bleeding does not stop within 4 hours, call your dentist.

  • Eat a soft diet and avoid hot drinks and spicy foods until your gum has healed.

  • Get any stitches removed, if this applies. Some stitches dissolve after a week or so and some require removal by your dentist. Your dentist will tell you which ones require removal.

SEEK IMMEDIATE DENTAL CARE IF:

  • You have uncontrolled bleeding, increased swelling, or severe pain.

  • You develop a fever above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medication.  

  • You have difficulty in swallowing or cannot open your mouth.

  • You have any other severe symptoms.