Aftercare Instructions for Extraction

What to Do After Extraction

It is important to take care of your extraction site, so please read and follow these instructions. If you have any questions or problems, please call the office.


We have placed a gauze pack on the extraction site to stop the bleeding. The gauze should be left in place for 30-45 minutes after you leave the office to allow a firm blood clot to form in the extraction site.

There may be some bleeding after the gauze is removed. If so, follow this procedure: Fold a clean gauze into a pad, place it on the extraction site and apply moderate pressure by closing the teeth firmly together. Maintain the pressure for about 30 minutes. Replace the gauze pad with a clean one if it gets soaked. If you run out of clean gauze pads a moistened tea bag can be used in its place.

If heavy bleeding continues for more than one hour, please call the office. Remember though, a lot of saliva and a little blood can look like a lot of bleeding.

The Blood Clot

After an extraction a blood clot forms in the tooth socket. This clot is an important part of the healing process and you should avoid things that might disturb it.

DO NOT smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities create suction which will dislodge the clot and delay healing.

Limit strenuous activity for 24 hours after the extraction. This will reduce bleeding and help the blood clot to form.

Swelling and Pain

After a tooth is removed you may have some discomfort and notice some swelling. You can help reduce the swelling and pain by applying a cold compress or ice bag on your face. For the first several hours after the extraction you should alternately apply the ice for 10 minutes and then leave the ice off for 10 minutes.

Oral Hygiene

It is important to continue to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. The tongue should also be cleaned to help eliminate bad breath and the unpleasant taste that is common after an extraction. On the day of the extraction avoid cleaning the teeth next to the healing tooth socket.


If you have an infection associated with your extracted tooth we will provide you with the necessary antibiotics. Make sure to follow the instructions given with the antibiotic and take it until it is gone.

If we anticipate pain following the extraction, we will also provide you with the appropriate pain medication. Generally we use Ibuprofen (400mg), which is a safe, non-narcotic pain reliever. Ibuprofen works best by preventing pain, so take one or two tablets when you get home while you are still numb and follow the instructions for additional doses.


The day of the extraction you can gently rinse your mouth with cool water to get rid of any bad taste. Do not forcefully spit the water out of your mouth, to avoid disturbing the clot.

The day after the extraction, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 oz. warm water). Rinsing after meals is important to keep food particles out of the extraction site, but remember not to rinse vigorously.


After the extraction drink lots of liquids and eat soft nutritious foods. Avoid alcoholic beverages (especially if taking pain medication) and very hot liquids. Begin eating solid foods the next day or as soon as you can chew comfortably. For about two days try to chew on the side opposite the extraction site. If your mouth is too sore to eat even soft foods, supplement your diet with Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ensure (available in most pharmacies).

Dry Sockets

Dry socket is a painful condition that develops when the blood clot dislodges from the socket. The extraction site then becomes dry and extremely painful. Almost all dry sockets occur among smokers, so DO NOT smoke for the first 24 hours following your extraction! If a dry socket develops, typically the pain begins one or two days after the extraction and often feels like an earache. If you think you may have developed a dry socket, please call the office because we have a medication that will ease the pain very quickly.