After Tooth Extraction
Minor bleeding after oral surgery is expected for 1-2 days. Biting down on gauze immediately after the procedure will control the bleeding. Change out the gauze pads every 30 minutes, as needed. Do not sleep with gauze in your mouth. If the bleeding persists, bite down on a moist black tea bag for 30 minutes. Try not to talk for the first half hour after surgery so that you can maintain pressure on the gauze pad. Do not spit or drink through a straw for 1 day, as this will dislodge the blood clot and potentially result with a dry socket. Again, minor bleeding is expected in the first couple days after surgery. If major bleeding occurs, apply pressure and call the office. If after hours, call the after-hours number provided or go to the Emergency Room. Do not sleep with gauze in your mouth!
If stitches were placed, they will help control the bleeding. Try not to play with the stitches with your tongue. Unless told otherwise by the doctor, the stitches will dissolve on their own in about a week, but may fall out sooner (2-3 days).
You may brush your remaining teeth the day of surgery, but avoid the areas where you had surgery. Brush very slowly and softly. Do not swish or use mouth rinses on the day you have surgery. Starting the next day, you should perform warm saltwater rinses 4-5 times per day, 30 seconds each. Mix up to a half-teaspoon of salt with a small cup of warm (not hot) water, and swish. This will speed healing.
After day 2, you should be using the plastic syringe that was given to you. Place the syringe that is filled with the prescribed mouth rinse or warm salt water into the tooth socket. Do a “pressure wash” into the socket after every meal. When you spit out the liquid, you should see food debris; if not, you are not using enough force. Keep flushing out the socket until you do not see any more debris. You should continue to do this until the extraction site is closed (several days to weeks). This step will prevent you from having a lot of pain from food impaction in the sockets!
Do not smoke or use dip for a minimum of 7 days (unless told otherwise by the doctor). Smoking will prevent healing, and can lead to infection and/or a painful dry socket. You may use a nicotine patch, but not electronic cigarettes.
Ice packs will help prevent swelling if used in the first 24 hours after your surgery. You can buy an ice pack or simply place ice cubes in a towel and apply to your face in the area where you had surgery, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. Do not apply ice directly to your skin as it will cause skin injury.
Take all medication as prescribed. Do not drive or operate any kind of vehicle while taking narcotic medications. Narcotics may also cause constipation, requiring you to take an over-the-counter stool softener.
Sleep with your head elevated to prevent swelling or throbbing at the surgical site for the 5-7 days after surgery.
Be careful with chewing while your lips and tongue are numb as you may bite yourself and not realize it. After your surgery, you may eat cool, soft foods (ice cream, jello, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc.). Drink plenty of cool, non-carbonated fluids. The next day, you can advance your diet to other soft foods that involve a little more chewing. Do not eat very hot, spicy, or crunchy foods until your surgical site has healed (at least 1 week).
The blood clot that forms within the socket acts as a “bandaid” to the bone. If the clot is prematurely lost, then the bone is exposed and the result can be a painful, throbbing pain. The condition is temporary but may require the placement of a medication into the socket. It is best to prevent a dry socket, so: no spitting, rigorous rinsing, or drinking through a straw for the first day after surgery. Do not smoke.
During business hours, if you are experiencing a problem that cannot be addressed by the above instructions, call the office. After business hours, if you experience an urgent problem related to surgery, you may call the after-hours phone number provided with your home care packet. In case of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.