Post-Operative Care: Extractions

Woman with tooth pain

Written by Dr. Zach Brumbach

Dr. Brumbach, an Idaho native, graduated in 2002 with honors from Creighton University School of Dentistry in Omaha, Neb.

September 9, 2021

Tooth extractions are performed if we cannot preserve your natural teeth. Unfortunately, not every tooth can be saved and there are many reasons why a tooth must be extracted. If you recently had a tooth extraction, here are some helpful tips on caring for your mouth after a dental extraction.

  1. Tooth Extraction AnimationBLEEDING – Some bleeding is expected following extractions. Bite firmly and continuously on gauze for 30 minutes. If persistent bleeding occurs, place new gauze pads over extraction area and continue to firmly bite for another hour. If you run out of gauze pads, tea bags or folded paper towels will also work.
  2. RINSING – Do not rinse your mouth during the day following your procedure. Starting the next day, gently rinse your mouth every 3-4 hours with warm salt water. Continue rinsing for several days.
  3. BRUSHING – Brush your teeth normally but avoid putting your toothbrush or any other object into the extraction site. Avoid spitting when brushing.
  4. SWELLING – Ice or a cold compress should be applied to skin opposite the extraction. We recommend following a pattern of 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off for 4-6 hours following extractions.
  5. PAIN – If the dentist has provided you with medication, follow the instruction on the label. Pain is to be expected. Often Tylenol and/or Ibuprofen are sufficient.
  6. FOOD – A soft diet is advisable for 24 hours following extractions. Avoid excessively hot, spicy, and hard foods that will irritate the extraction area.
  7. BONY FRAGMENTS – Small bony fragments may work up through the gums during healing. This is normal and they should remove themselves on their own. If they persist, they can be removed your dentist later.
    These activities can lead to bone inflammation (dry sockets)
    1. Smoking
    2. Drinking through a straw
    3. Spitting

Bleeding, swelling, and pain in the area of the extraction may occur. After following the recommended tips above, if your symptoms persist, please contact our office. Rinsing your mouth, brushing your teeth, and eating food after your extraction should be handled with more care to prevent prolonging the healing process. Be mindful that smoking, spitting, or drinking through a straw is strictly prohibited for at least one full week after your extraction. As always, if you have any questions before or after your extraction procedure, please feel free to contact our office and we will be more than happy to assist you.

For any additional questions or concerns, call our office during our business hours at (208) 777-1222.

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