After Tooth Extraction


Pain in varying amounts is to be expected after oral surgery. Its severity rarely depends on the extent of the surgery, but instead is usually related to the patient’s pain tolerance and ability to get back to normal function quickly.

Take 800mg of ibuprofen for pain relief as soon as you get home. For breakthrough pain, you should take the prescribed medicine as instructed. Do not take Tylenol as most of the prescriptions already contain Tylenol. However, Advil/Ibuprofen and your prescription can be taken together. If further pain relief is needed, brew regular black tea and soak gauze in it. Then bite on the gauze. The tannic acid in the tea will help soothe the socket locally.

DO NOT SMOKE for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Blowing hot smoke on surgical wounds can be extremely painful.

Swelling and bruising:

Swelling and bruising in modest amounts commonly develops after oral surgery. They usually peak 24 to 72 hours after surgery and then should begin resolving . Elevate our head and place an ice bag over the affected area (20 minutes on and 20 minutes off) for the first 24 to 48 hours to help reduce the amount of swelling. Following 24 to 48 hours of therapy with ice, switch to moist heat 4 times daily for the next 2 to 6 days depending on your symptoms. Bruising especially occurs when bleeding is not stopped early on.


Bleeding will stop if you bite down firmly on your gauze pads for at least one hour after surgery. Then change the gauze every hour until bleeding resolves. The gauze, when removed, should look like a bulls-eye (red in the center and white around the edges). If it is red all the way through then not enough pressure has been applied. Slight oozing, even overnight, is ok and may persist on and off for the next 2 to 3 days. This is normal, there is no need to place gauze pads in the area and it is important to take the gauze pads out while sleeping.

Mouth rinses:

Mouth rinses should not be used for the first 24 hours after surgery. Use a solution of warm salt water 4 to 5 times a day for 5 days. Vigorous rinsing is not desirable as it may disturb the blood clot. Place 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 2/3 cup warm water and rinse gently 2-3 minutes each time on the side of surgery.


Sutures may break down anywhere from the first day of surgery and may last up to 2 weeks. If your sutures come out early do not be alarmed.


Fluids are especially important on the first day (at least 2 quarts) to prevent dehydration. After the first 24 hours eat whatever is most comfortable. Avoid nuts, potato chips, popcorn, etc., but otherwise eating normally is recommended to help prevent infection.

Good oral hygiene

Good oral hygiene after oral surgery promotes more rapid healing. Starting the day after surgery, begin rinsing with warm salt water, and brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush.

If any of the following occurs, call the office immediately:

  • severe bleeding
  • fever >102 degrees
  • rapid swelling with difficulty breathing or swallowing

Pain medication is prescribed at the time of surgery and can not be called in by the doctor after hours. Remember all narcotics cause drowsiness, and you should not drive automobiles or operate dangerous machinery while taking these medications.

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