When you have had a tooth removed it is important to care for your mouth the right way. During the first 24 hours, it’s important that a blood clot forms on the extraction site to stop bleeding, reduce pain and speed healing.

  • Bite on a gauze pad firmly for 30 minutes then discard. If bleeding or oozing continues, bite down on a moist black tea bag for 30 minutes
  • Don’t spit, and don’t suck on candies or through a straw
  • Don’t rinse your mouth and don’t brush or floss next to the site
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco. Avoid tobacco for at least 72 hours because it slows healing and may cause infection
  • Avoid alcohol for 72 hours
  • Limit yourself to calm activities and elevate your head with pillows when you lie down to reduce bleeding
  • Don’t drink hot, carbonated or alcoholic drinks and avoid hot or spicy food

To control discomfort, take medication prescribed or recommended, before the anesthetic has worn off. To keep swelling to a minimum, use an ice bag over the area, 10 minutes on and 50 minutes off for 24 hours.

When the numbness has worn off completely, drink lots of fluids and eat only soft nutritious foods, chewing on the opposite side.

After the First 24 Hours

  • Begin to eat normally as soon as it’s comfortable.
  • Resume brushing and flossing, but clean gently around the site for about a week.
  • If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.
  • Reduce soreness or swelling by applying moist heat. Swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.
  • Further reduce swelling by rinsing your mouth very gently with warm salt water. Use about one teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water. Rinse two to three times a day for the week following the extraction. After rinsing, lean over the sink and let the rinse fall out. Do not spit the rinse out because it may dislodge the blood clot.

When to Call Us

It is normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a tooth extraction, but call us right away if you have:

  • Heavy or increased bleeding
  • Pain or swelling that increases or continues beyond three days
  • Fever greater than 101.5
  • A reaction to the medication
  • Continued numbness


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