Extraction Post Operative Instructions


A frequent cause of bleeding following surgery is any activity that might disturb the area, such as rinsing, spitting, sucking on a straw or cigarette, or trying to eat solid food.  After 36 hours we recommend rinsing several times a day, especially after meals, with warm salt-water or diluted mouthwash.


Expect a slight amount of bleeding the first day following surgery.  Pressure is the most effective way to control bleeding.  We recommend folding a gauze pad, placing it over the area and biting on it for at least one hour and checking at hourly intervals as necessary.  Do not leave gauze in your mouth while eating, drinking, or sleeping.  UNINTERRUPTED pressure is the most effective.


Most often there will be some swelling the first three or four days.  If it is not better by then, please call and make an appointment to have it checked.  An ice pack can be helpful for the first 24-48 hours following surgery (30 min on, 30 min off).  After the first 48 hours, heat may make it feel better.


For mild pain use any Ibuprofen (600mg-adults and adolescent) or Acetaminophen.  You may alternate Ibuprofen with 1000mg of Acetaminophen, so you are taking something for pain every 3 hours. (For example: Take 600mg Ibuprofen, 3 hours later 1000 mg Acetaminophen, 3 hours later 600 mg Ibuprofen; ect.  Continuing alternating for four to five days).  For more severe pain we may prescribe something stronger.  Prescription drugs are very effective, but some people experience nausea or drowsiness with them.  Do not work, drive, or go to school if you are taking narcotics.  Be sure not to take them on an empty stomach.  It takes 40-60 minutes for them to take full effect.


A soft diet is advisable for the first few days.  You will not be able to open very wide for up to a week, so a soft diet may be necessary for that long.  Avoid hard, crunchy food for one week.


Occasionally, a small bone fragment will work its way out during healing, even weeks or months following surgery.  Usually they come out without requiring any treatment, but if in doubt, have us check it.


Several studies have shown it is not beneficial to routinely prescribe antibiotics following surgery, so we no longer do this.  However, if your temperature is above normal following surgery and you are having persistent problems, please let us know so that we can evaluate your condition.


A dry socket is not a bone infection, but is the loss of a blood clot.  Most often the symptom is more severe pain 3-4 days following surgery, when you would expect it to be getting better.  We have a very effective liquid medication that we place directly on the affected area.  Please call if you feel you need this.  However, to help prevent a dry socket: DO NOT RINSE, SPIT, SMOKE, EXERCISE, OR USE A STRAW FOR 36 HOURS AFTER SURGERY


Maintaining good oral hygiene is especially important, resume normal brushing/flossing routine night after extraction but avoid areas around the surgical site.  Avoid playing with the surgical site with your tongue.  The day after your surgery, we encourage warm salt-water rinses to keep the surgical sites clean and promote healing (Mix 1 tsp of salt with 1 cup of warm water until salt is dissolved, do GENTLE rinses 3-5 times per day for one week after surgery, avoid any other mouthwash during this time).