Instructions Following Extractions

  • Gauze Pressure Pack:  Immediately following the procedure, you will be given a gauze pack.  The gauze pack should be kept in place under pressure until you arrive at home.  The pack can be changed as needed every 15 minutes as needed until the bleeding subsides; this usually occurs within the first 1 to 2 hours.  Do not disturb the extraction site with your finger or by sucking on it.
  • Discomfort and Prescriptions:  Minimal to moderate discomfort can be anticipated for the first few days and can be controlled by taking over-the-counter or prescription medication as directed.  Begin taking the medication before the local anesthetic wears off; do not wait for discomfort to begin.  If an antibiotic was prescribed, it should be taken until it is completely finished.  Discomfort should begin to subside after 2-3 days; if discomfort is worsening after 4-5 days, it is possible that you may be experiencing a complication in healing and should contact the office.
  • Swelling:  Some swelling is not unusual and in most cases can be expected.  It will typically peak within 1-3 days.  To minimize swelling you may apply ice to the outside of your face “30 minutes on, 30 minutes off” for the first 24-48 hours.  Do not apply heat.  If there is extensive swelling that makes breathing or swallowing difficult or swelling that seems to be spreading down your neck, please contact the dental office.  Discolouration or bruising of the skin can sometimes occur and will fade on its own in approximately one week.
  • Bleeding:  Do not be alarmed if you notice blood-stains in your saliva.  If there is considerable bleeding, apply a MOIST gauze pad or tea bag to the area for 30 to 60 minutes with firm constant pressure.  It will be helpful to keep your head elevated with 2 or 3 pillows and also avoid excessive exercise or activity.  If the bleeding does not subside, please call the dental office for further instructions.
  • Hygiene:  Mouth rinsing should NOT be done on the day of the procedure.  The day AFTER the procedure, rinse 3-4 times daily with a warm salt-water rinse (1 teaspoon salt to 1 cup warm water), especially following meals.  Do not use commercial mouth rinses (e.g. Listerine, Scope) for ten days following the procedure.  During the first week brush your teeth as usual, but avoid or be very gentle around the surgical area.  Keeping your mouth clean and controlling plaque will help the healing process.
  • Diet/Alcohol/Smoking:  Do not vigorously rinse, consume hot liquids, or drink using a straw for the first 24 hours.  A soft diet is advised for the first few days.  Alcohol may cause bleeding and should be minimized or preferably avoided for the first week.  Smoking may also affect the healing process and cause complications such as a dry socket or infection.  Smoking should be avoided for at least 3-4 days following the procedure.
  • Dentures (if applicable):  If you have a denture that was immediately seated after the extractions, the denture will act as a compression bandage and will assist in controlling bleeding and swelling.  Leave the denture in for the first night ONLY (unless it bothers you, then remove it).
  • Activities:  After leaving the office, go directly home and keep physical activity to a minimum for the remainder of the day.
  • Additional Information:  Pain in the ear, slight difficulty swallowing, difficulty in opening and closing the jaw, and some local skin discolouration in the neck are additional signs and symptoms that occur with varying frequency.  The findings are usually normal.

If you have any questions regarding the post-operative instructions or should any problems arise, please do not hesitate to call the office.