Following the extraction, some bleeding is normal. Keep a steady, even pressure on the gauze sponge, placed by the doctor, for 1/2 hour. If bleeding continues, place a moist gauze pad (or a moist tea bag) directly over the socket and apply biting pressure for another 30 minutes. Repeat as necessary. Expect blood to weep for the first 4 hours. Keep your head elevated with pillows to help control bleeding. Remember, when blood mixes with saliva, it appears that you are bleeding more than you really are. Bleeding that persists or increases is reason to call our office.
A blood clot will form on the extraction site and this is vital to the healing process. Do not do anything to disturb the first clot. Avoid touching the area with your tongue or fingers. Do not rinse your mouth on the first day or spit vigorously. Do not smoke. Do not drink through a straw or drink carbonated beverages (Coke, Sprite, Club Soda etc). All these things done during the first 24-48 hours after an extraction may dislodge the clot and cause a very painful dry socket.
For the first 48 hours after the extraction, a light diet is advised. Eat soft foods that do not require a lot of chewing (jello, mashed potatoes, ice cream etc). As the wounds heal, you will be able to advance your diet.
Drink plenty of fluids – at least 6 glasses of liquid the first day. Water or diluted fruit juice is recommended. If many teeth have been extracted, the blood lost at this time needs to be replaced.
You may notice some minor swelling. If swelling occurs use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a frozen bag of peas for the first 6 hours — alternating 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off.
Some discomfort is to be expected after the extraction. Usually an over the counter pain reliever (such as Motrin, Tylenol or Aleve) is sufficient. We can also give you a prescription for a stronger pain medication if needed. To avoid nausea, do not take pain medication on an empty stomach.
If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone. If a rash develops, please discontinue use and call our office.
Do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours following the procedure. After that, use a warm salt water rinse (1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of lukewarm water) every 4 hours or following meals to rinse out food particles and debris. Gently swish the solution around the affected area and spit carefully. Continue for 3-4 days.
Be sure to brush and floss the other areas of your mouth as you would normally. A clean mouth heals better and faster.
If the extraction required sutures, please be careful not to disturb them. Keep your tongue away from the area. Stretching or pulling on the mouth to look at the extraction site, could result in tearing the sutures. If a suture does become dislodged, this is no cause for alarm, just remove the suture from your mouth and discard it. The sutures placed are resorbable and an additional appointment is not required to remove them.
Occasionally you may notice or feel a bone fragment working its way up through the extraction site. These fragments are not roots, but tiny fragments of bone. If left alone, they typically migrate out on their own. You may choose to return to the office for a simple removal. In addition, patients may feel hard projections which are actually the bony walls that support the tooth. These also will gradually become smooth over time.
The space left by the tooth will feel a bit strange to you at first. Eventually, new bone and gum tissue will grow into the gap left by the extraction.