Proper post-operative care after surgery is very important to optimize the healing process and to reduce the complications of tooth extractions.
Immediately Following Surgery for Tooth Extraction
The gauze pack should be kept in place with firm pressure over the area from which the tooth was extracted. Remove the pack after 30 minutes. If there is continued excessive bleeding, replace with new gauze and bite firmly again. Vigorous mouth rinsing or chewing in the areas of the tooth extraction should be avoided. This may cause increased bleeding or the blood clot to dislodge.
A liquid or soft diet is recommended for the first 24 hours after tooth extraction. Avoid sucking through straws and eating hard or crunchy foods and spicy foods. Take the prescribed pain medication before the numbness from the local anesthesia wears off. Restrict your activities on the day of surgery and return to normal activities slowly. Place ice packs on the outside of the face where the tooth extractions were done. Use ice for the first 24 hours to decrease swelling by applying it on and off 20–30 minutes at a time.
Bleeding After Tooth Extraction
Slight bleeding and redness in the saliva are common after tooth extraction surgery. If there is excess bleeding, gently wipe any old clots from the mouth and then place clean new gauze over the area and bite firmly for 30–40 minutes. Repeat every 30–40 minutes with new gauze. If excessive bleeding continues, bite on a cold-water-moistened tea bag firmly for 30–40 minutes. Slowly remove the tea bag and leave the area alone. If there is still continued excessive bleeding, call our office for further instructions. Also, avoid excessive talking, drinking from a straw, or excessive chewing if there is continued bleeding.
Swelling After Tooth Extraction
Swelling is normal after any surgical procedure involving tooth extraction. The extent of swelling varies and depends on the extent of the surgery and each patient. Swelling around the mouth, jaws, cheeks, and below the eyes is not uncommon. The swelling will usually reach its maximum 2–3 days after the tooth extraction procedure. The swelling can be decreased by the immediate use of ice packs in the first 24 hours. Ice packs should be applied to the outside next to where the surgery was done. Keep the ice on for 20–30 minutes at a time, and then remove for 20–30 minutes. Also, sitting upright and not lying flat on the first day will help to decrease the amount of swelling. You may have been prescribed other anti-inflammatory medications such as dexamethasone (Decadron). If you were prescribed these medications, follow the instructions written on the bottle.
Pain After Tooth Extraction
Pain medications are normally required after tooth extraction surgery. If you can take ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®), take 400–600 mg every 6–8 hours or as prescribed by your doctor. Ibuprofen will help with pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory. If you cannot take ibuprofen…