After Tooth Extraction

Home Instructions After the Removal of a Single Tooth

After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. 

Immediately Following Surgery

  • The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for a half hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
  • Vigorous mouth rinsing and/or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.
  • Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
  • Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed. Refer to the section on swelling for a more thorough explanation.


A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon.

  • Bite on gauze for 30 minutes – do not chew on it. Remove it and check for bleeding. Repeat as needed with fresh gauze only if active bleeding is taking place.
  • The gauze must be placed directly over the surgical site to be effective. Firm pressure is what stops the bleeding
  • A dark tea bag (i.e. Lipton) slightly moistened with cold water may be very helpful in place of the gauze. Bite on tea bag for 45 minutes. The tannic acid in the black or brown teas helps to form a clot 
  • Bleeding for the first day on and off is normal. If bleeding persists, or is excessive, please notify us.
  • Do NOT eat, sleep or drink with gauze in your mouth.
  • Do not rinse, spit or use a straw for the first 24 hours. This will disturb the blood clot and prolong bleeding.  It is best to avoid smoking for several days after having oral surgery.

To minimize further bleeding, do not become excited, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call our office for further instructions.


The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively. However, to minimize swelling:

  • Apply ice packs immediately to all areas where surgery was performed.
  • Place the ice packs on for 20 to 30 minutes (or as much as tolerated) and off for 20 to 30 minutes. This process can be repeated for the first 24 to 48 hours as needed.

Forty-eight hours following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling.


Fill your prescriptions and take your medication as directed.

  • Take the first dose of pain medication after you get home before the numbness wears off. We recommend you not take the medication on an empty stomach, so take it with a large glass of liquid or light food (milkshake, Smoothie, soup, etc.).
  • If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office.


Your nutrition is extremely important. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Avoid hot liquids or food for the first 24 hours as these may cause the surgical sites to bleed further. A soft food diet is recommended for several days after surgery. Return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.

  • Do not eat any foods that require chewing while you are numb
  • No hot food or drink on day of surgery so as to minimize bleeding. Start with a cool or lukewarm soft diet the day of surgery along with plenty of fluids. No hard or crunchy food for 5-7 days.

Oral Hygiene

Cleanliness is a must for rapid and uncomplicated recovery

  • Although we recommend no rinsing on the first day, it is OK to gently brush your teeth the night of surgery, avoiding the surgical sites. Cleanse the toothpaste from your mouth very gently.
  • The day after surgery, brush as you normally would and begin rinsing with a warm salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) four to five times per day for one week. If you have been prescribed Peridex mouthwash, please use as directed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds then spit it out.  Remember NOT to eat or drink for 30 minutes after using Peridex.


If you have been placed on antibiotics, take the tablets or liquid as directed. Antibiotics will be given to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or any other unfavorable reaction and contact our office immediately. Call the office if you have any questions.


Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking in normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise.

Any questions or concerns, call our office at (847) 945-6700