What To Expect

Some discomfort, bleeding and/or swelling is expected after having a tooth extraction and/or oral surgery. Use this information as a guideline to follow, which will help with healing and lead to a quicker recovery.



Take (2) Extra-Strength Tylenol, Motrin, or Advil (avoid Aspirin) before the numbness wears off and repeat every 6 hours as needed to control pain. If we have given you a prescription for stronger pain medication, you can take one tablet when you arrive home. Then follow the directions for the prescription. To avoid nausea, do not take any medications on an empty stomach. If prescribed, take any antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication as it will help the area to heal.


To help reduce the bleeding, place a gauze pad over the area and gently but firmly bite on it for 30-45 minutes. Replace the pad as necessary with new gauze until active bleeding stops completely (the area will ooze blood for 2-3 days). You can use moist tea bags instead of gauze. Be sure to call us if bleeding persists or increases. To promote blood clotting, follow the following instructions for the next 24 hours.

  • Keep your head elevated with pillows and avoid excessive activity for the next 24 hours.
  • Avoid spitting, blowing your nose forcefully or using a straw.
  • Avoid smoking for 4-6 hours and drinking alcoholic beverages for 24 hours.
  • Do not swish or vigorously rinse you mouth for the first 24 hours.
  • To keep the blood clot intact, avoid touching the extraction site with your fingers or tongue.


Swelling is anticipated following more difficult extractions. To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack to your face for 15 minutes on, then 15 minutes off for the first 6 hours following tooth extraction. You may continue ice compresses for the next 48 hours as needed. Be aware, any swelling will usually be greatest on day 3. After 1 week swelling is reduced by 80%. It usually takes 2 weeks to go away 100%. It’s also NORMAL to see some bruising appear within 2 or 3 days after surgery.


For the first 24 hours, you should only take fluids or soft foods. Good suggestions are eggs, ice-cream, yogurts, cool soups and pasta. Avoid any hot foods, carbonated beverages and acidic fruit juices. Drink at least eight large glasses of water or fruit juice per day for the first few days. Be sure to stick to a nutritious diet during the healing period.

Oral Hygiene

After surgery, it is important to keep your teeth as clean as possible to avoid infection and promote healing. At first, gently brush the teeth away from the extracted area. The next day, you may start using warm salt-water rinses (1 teaspoon of table salt dissolved in 4 oz. of water) approximately 5-6 times a day. Continue this for 2 weeks after the tooth extraction and for 6 WEEKS for all other oral surgery. (For convenience, we recommend mixing salt water in a 24 oz. container combined with 6 teaspoons of table salt. Rinse upon waking in the morning, after each meal and snack, and then again at bedtime.)


Generally, it is advised that you relax and rest in a chair the day of the extraction and avoid any significant physical activity. This will promote your healing.

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