Post Extraction Instructions
Once you have had a tooth removed, the key to a comfortable recovery lies in proper care of the extraction site. Healing starts immediately, and following the steps below will minimize the risk of any complications:
Immediately after Extraction
- Avoid smoking for five days: cigarette smoke contains many harmful toxins which contaminate the healing site. These will increase the risk of infection, pain and delay healing.
- Bite down firmly on the healing pack: our dentist will place a folded piece of gauze for you to bite on. This applies pressure to the extraction site to help control bleeding.
- Avoid vigorous rinsing, spitting and sucking on a straw: these activities can dislodge the blood clot at the extraction site.
- Pain relief: it is normal to experience some tenderness and swelling in the area where the tooth was extracted, especially for the first two or three days afterwards. Paracetamol (Panadol) or Ibuprofen (Nurofen, Advil) on the day of the extraction will help reduce any discomfort.
- Avoid strenuous activity: while extractions are usually not traumatic enough to require bed rest, we recommend only light activity as overexertion can intensity any pain or discomfort.
- Change your diet for the remainder of the day: hot and spicy foods should be avoided until the anaesthetic wears away completely, otherwise there is a risk of traumatizing your mouth. Hard foods, even popcorn kernals, can also become dislodged in the socket. Soft foods and drink will help with reduce any discomfort.
- Stitches: our dentist will advise you if stitches have been placed. He or she will advise you as to whether they will dissolve on their own (usually in about 7-10 days) or if you will need to reappoint for their removal.
The Next Day
- Gentle rinsing with salt water: after every meal and after your morning and night routine. Mixing a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water provides an effective mouthrinse for cleaning any remaining food remaining in the socket.
- Brushing and flossing: can be commenced on the day after, but try to avoid the extraction site for three days as this may be tender to touch.
- Healing: it often takes up to 3-4 weeks for the gum tissue to heal entirely. While this is occurring, be sure to gargle regularly to remove food from the socket.
- Ongoing bleeding: it is normal for some blood to ooze for the first 24 hours. If it is more than a gentle flow, the ongoing bleeding is best managed through pressure on the extraction site with a healing pack. A teabag is a great alternative if you do not have any medical gauze left – the tannins naturally present in tea help speed up the clotting process. . It is important to hold this pack in place for at least 30 to 45 minutes as blood clots can take some time to form and stabilise.
- Pain in other teeth: the extraction site can become quite tender, and this can sometimes affect the adjacent teeth, which may become tender to touch. You should find this normalizing as healing takes place.
- Ongoing pain: can be for a variety of reasons. Difficult or large teeth may require longer healing times due to the larger extraction site, and pain can persist for up to 7 days. A gradual decrease in severity often means that healing is taking place normally.
- Dry socket: classically presents with severe pain at 3-5 days after extraction. This is preceded by a few pain-free days. The pain is often radiating and aching, as opposed to the localized tenderness that is common after extractions. This often occurs if the instructions are not followed properly, resulting in dislodging of the blood clot. If you suspect a dry socket, please make an appointment with us so that we can provide a sedative dressing to expedite the healing process.
Any other questions? Feel free to ring us on (03) 5331 9285.