Post Operative Instructions for Extraction Patients

NORMAL BLEEDING
Continue to bite on the gauze placed in your extraction site for 30 minutes, maintaining firm pressure.  Change the gauze every ten minutes, making sure to wet it before placement, until the bleeding stops (at which time gauze can be removed completely).  A little blood can mix with your saliva and look like a lot of blood.  If the oozing is thick, continue to bite on gauze or a wet tea bag until the bleeding stops.  Keep your head elevated.  Most importantly, for 48 hours following your extraction, DO NOT SMOKE, SPIT, USE A STRAW, DRINK CARBONATED BEVERAGES, OR ALCOHOL, AND AVOID STRENEOUS EXERCISE.  Avoid blowing your nose and sneezing (if you must sneeze, do so with your mouth open to prevent any sinus damage) for the first week.  These activities can dislodge the blood clot and result in a very painful dry socket, for which there is no cure.

PAIN MEDICATION
Begin taking your prescribed pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off.  Take your medication with food if it causes nausea.  Obey the warnings on the medication bottle including avoiding alcohol and driving while taking your medication.

ORAL HYGIENE
DO NOT rinse your mouth or brush your teeth for 8 hours following your extractions.  After 8 hours, you may brush gently, avoiding the area of surgery, and then begin warm salt-water rinses (one tsp. in an 8 ounce glass of water) repeating 4 times a day, especially after meals, for one week.

SWELLING, BRUISING, JAW STIFFNESS
There are four things that you can expect to experience after your surgery:  minor bleeding (1-2 days), slowly improving pain (1-5 days), tightness of jaw (up to 2 weeks), and swelling (up to 1 week). 

  • Swelling:  apply ice packs to face in area of extraction for 30 minutes on, then 10 minutes off for the first 24 hours following surgery.  After the first 24 hours, discontinue ice and use a heating pad or moist heat compress to bring the swelling down. 
  • Bruising:  Bruising may occur around the head and neck.  It will disappear in 7-10 days. 
  • Jaw Stiffness:  Sore jaw muscles will improve in 5-10 days, limit the opening of your mouth and avoid chewing gum.

SUTURES
Sutures (stitches) need to be removed in 5-7 days following placement unless otherwise instructed.

DIET
Your diet for the first day will consist of soft, cold foods such as:  jello, pudding, yogurt, applesauce, milk shakes, cottage cheese, or ice cream.  Soup is fine at room temperature.  Use the side of your mouth opposite of the extraction site(s) to chew.

CALL THE OFFICE
If you need to make an appointment for suture removal, have uncontrolled bleeding, increased swelling, fever, or pain that begins on the 3rd or 4th day after surgery.