What Do I Need To Do After My Tooth Extraction?

Cartoon dentist with a chart showing recommended soft foods after oral surgery.Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

In a perfect world, you would keep your natural teeth your whole life. However, sometimes a tooth extraction is the best choice for your oral health. For many people, it’s their wisdom teeth that are removed, but severe damage or infections can make other extractions necessary, too. There are a handful of tooth replacements we offer, but right after an extraction, how do you heal and stay healthy?

The First 24 Hours

To stop the bleeding and start the healing process, a blood clot needs to form after surgery. If you experience heavy or increased bleeding, a bad taste in your mouth, or have a reaction to your medication, please call us right away. Some discomfort is normal.

What To Do

For 30-60 minutes after your surgery, bite down on a gauze pad. To control swelling, put an ice bag over your cheek for 20 minutes, take a break for 20 minutes, and then ice again. Once the anesthetic has worn off, you’ll start to feel some pain, so take your medication beforehand or as we direct you. When you’re no longer numb, drink lots of fluids, eat soft foods, and chew on the opposite side of the extraction site.

What Not To Do

Don’t spit, rinse, suck on anything (like a straw), or brush and floss around the affected area. You should also not smoke or use tobacco for at least 72 hours. For your meals, don’t eat or drink anything alcoholic, hot, carbonated, or spicy.

After the First 24 Hours

You can now begin to brush and floss, but clean gently around your extraction for about a week. If we've prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed even if you’re feeling fine. It’s important to finish the course. Take your pain medication as directed, too. Swelling should go down after 48 hours. You can reduce swelling with moist heat and warm salt water rinses. If the swelling doesn’t go away, please give us a call. Eat softs foods initially but as soon as you’re comfortable, you can begin to eat normally.

Tooth Extractions at Gastonia Family Dentistry

Tooth extractions can be intimidating, but at our Gastonia office, we’ll always make you as comfortable as possible. After surgery, you’ll be given clear instructions on what to expect and how to heal. Have questions or suspect you might need an extraction? Please contact us today! And when it's time to get that tooth replaced with a restoration, we can help you decide the best course of action.


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