BLEEDING:  After an extraction, it's important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That's why your dentist will ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30 to 45 minutes after an extraction. If bleeding or oozing continues after you remove the gauze pad, place another gauze pad on the area and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.  It is not usual to taste a bit of blood for an hour or so, and you may see a small amount of blood on your pillow cover the following morning.

ACTIVITIES:  After the blood clot forms, it's important to protect it, especially for the next 24 hours.  Many activities can dislodge or damage your blood clot, which can encourage severe pain and/or infection.  Please follow carefully these suggestions.

  •  Do not swish vigorously with any type of liquid for at least 24 hours
  •  No exercise for at least 24 hours
  •  No lifting of heavy objects for 24 hours
  •  No tobacco of any type for 24 hours
  •  No alcohol for 24 hours
  •  Do not brush in this area for 24 hours.
  •  Do not drink through a straw for 24 hours.
  •  Do not consume carbonated drinks for 24 hours.
  •  Avoid chewing on this side for several days
  •  Avoid hot spicy foods.

SWELLING:  After the tooth is extracted, you may feel some pain and have some swelling. You can use an ice bag (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) to keep this to a minimum. The swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.

PAIN:  To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended. Don't take medication on an empty stomach or nausea may result. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.

EATING:  You can begin eating normally the next day, or as soon as it's comfortable. Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water three times a day (put a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, and then gently rinse, swish, and spit). Also, rinse gently after meals. This helps keep food out of the extraction site.

HOME CARE: It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing your teeth and tongue and flossing at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your breath and mouth fresh. Call us right away if you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling after two or three days, or a reaction to the medication. Expect some soreness and tenderness for a few days, but after that you should be able to resume your normal activities.

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