After Tooth Extraction

Home Instructions After the Removal of a Single Tooth

The typical healing after an oral surgical procedure involves approximately seven to ten days for full recovery.  Most patients can resume normal activities after the first 24-48 hours following the extraction of erupted teeth.   Patients undergoing wisdom teeth extractions may typically require 5-7 days before resolution of their discomfort and swelling.

All surgical procedures may be accompanied by four events: discomfort, bleeding, swelling and a risk of infection.

 

To manage your post-operative discomfort: A potent pain medication has been prescribed.  It is best to attempt a light meal and take an analgesic (pain) tablet before the local anesthesia has worn off.  It is much easier to stay a step ahead of your discomfort than to try to catch up.  During the first 24 hours after surgery, be generous with the pain medication, but follow the instructions.  Do not exceed the recommended limits.  You may also alternate 600-800mg of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) between doses of the prescription pain medication.  There should be a minimum of 4 hours between the prescription pain medication and 4 hours between the ibuprofen tablet (e.g. 600mg Advil at 12:00 p.m., prescription at 2:00p.m., Advil at 4:00p.m., prescription at 6:00pm., etc.). Please contact the office with any questions.

 

Post-operative bleeding is expected:  To minimize your bleeding, we have provided several cotton gauze sponges.  Please fold these into a tight square and place them directly over the extraction sight.  Bite down firmly for approximately 1 hour.  After 1 hour, replace the gauze in an identical fashion.  You may need to repeat this procedure several times during the first day of surgery.  If there is no evidence that the bleeding is slowing down after 4 or 5 hours, lightly dampen a black or green tea bag, wrap one gauze sponge around it then place it over the extraction site and bite down firmly for 1 hour. If the bleeding continues, please contact the office.

 

Facial swelling: Swelling may gradually increase for the first 5 days after surgery, especially after lower tooth extractions.  If you keep your head elevated and maintain ice on the side of your face during the first 24 hours, your post-operative swelling will be markedly reduced.   Sleep on an extra pillow or two that evening to keep your swelling down.  After the first 5 days, the swelling will decrease rapidly.

 

Risk of infection: The risk varies with each procedure.   Antibiotics are typically not required following tooth extractions unless active infection is present at the time of surgery.  Gentle rinsing with warm salty water 24 hours after the procedure will help cleanse the wounds and promote a more rapid recovery from surgery.  Gently rinse after each meal and before bed.  If an antibiotic has been prescribed, please take it as instructed.

 

During your healing period: You must not smoke.  Ideally, all tobacco use will cease for 1 week prior to surgery and 1 week after surgery.   Failure to avoid tobacco products will prolong your post-surgery healing period, including your discomfort, bleeding, swelling and chance of infection.  Please do not rinse your mouth or expectorate (spit) on the day of surgery.   This will increase your bleeding and your risk of dry socket.  Please do not use any toothpaste or mouth rinses containing peroxide, including Listerine and Scope for one week as these will increase your risk of dry socket.  Avoid peridex (chlorhexidine) for one month or until the advisement from Dr. Esposito.  You may brush your teeth the night of your procedure.  Also please avoid straws and carbonated beverages until your follow up visit.