Post-Operative Instructions: Extractions
Proper care of the mouth following most dental procedures can reduce complications and speed the healing of the surgical area.
Protecting the Blood Clot
Maintain gentle pressure by biting on the gauze sponge that has been placed over the surgical area, or by biting on a moistened tea bag wrapped in a piece of gauze. Keep firm, steady pressure for 45 minutes. If bleeding persists, please feel free to contact the office or answering service. Do not sleep with gauze in your mouth. Report any unusual discomfort, drainage, swelling, redness, or fever above 100° F.
Do not rinse or use mouthwash for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours, we recommend rinsing with warm salt water (a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water) every 1–2 hours. (The use of commercial mouthwashes during the healing period is not encouraged.)
Discomfort following dental surgery is normal. If medication has been given or prescribed, take as instructed.
Carefully use a toothbrush in the area of the mouth not involved in the surgical procedure. A clean mouth heals faster.
Adequate consumption of nutritious foods and fluids following surgery and/or general extractions is most important. We recommend a liquid or soft diet for 24–48 hours following oral surgery. We also recommend avoiding any extremes in temperatures or spicy foods.
Rest for the first 2 post-operative days to minimize bleeding and swelling. Elevate your head on a couple of pillows to further minimize swelling. If you have had impacted teeth removed, you should avoid all strenuous activities for 1 week. For routine extractions, 2 days of limited activity is plenty. Don't pick at the surgical area. Don't consume liquids through a straw. Avoid alcoholic beverages, and refrain from smoking until healing is well established.
Control of Swelling
Gently apply ice packs to the area for 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off. Continue application of ice packs for the first 48 hours only.
Sutures will dissolve in 5–7 days and typically do not require removal. Do not worry about the sutures if they start to come out earlier.
Stretching the corners of the mouth may result in the lips becoming dry, cracked, or sore. If this occurs, the lips should be kept moist with Vaseline® or a similar ointment. Trismus or difficulty opening the mouth may be present for a few days (this is not unusual). If numbness of the lips, chin, or tongue persists, it will most likely be temporary and will go away on its own in a few days or weeks. If you develop severe throbbing pain down deep in the jaw, back near the ear, 3 or 4 days after the tooth is removed, contact our office.
Medication and Anesthetics
Patients receiving intravenous or nitrous oxide sedation should be accompanied home by a responsible adult after surgery. Medications, drugs, prescriptions, and anesthetics may cause drowsiness and lack of awareness and coordination, which can be increased with the use of alcohol and other drugs. Therefore, we advise that you do not operate any vehicle, automobile, or hazardous device for 24 hours after your release from surgery or until further recovered from the effects of the anesthetic medications or drugs that may have been given to you in the office. Take all medication exactly according to the directions on the bottle.
If you experience a generalized rash, itching, etc., call your oral surgeon at the office or call the answering service immediately.
Do not hesitate to call if any questions arise.