How to Heal After a Tooth Extraction

Care After an Extraction

1 – Use Gauze to Bite Down

After your tooth extraction, the dentist will place gauze on the extraction site to stop the bleeding. Applying pressure and biting down tightly will help make the area stop bleeding. If you notice that it is still bleeding heavily, you will probably need to reposition the gauze to cover your wound more directly. Important notes:

  • Do NOT TALK!  This loosens the gauze and may lead to further bleeding which ultimately can delay the clot formation.
  • Do NOT SPIT! This can hinder your clot from forming.
  • Do NOT TOUCH the extraction site with your fingers or tongue. Try to avoid blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing during your recovery.The wound may start to bleed again from the increased pressure.
  • Increased pressure may cause the wound to bleed again. Avoid warming up the area by holding your hand over the extraction area.
  • After 30 to 45 minutes, remove the gauze and check in the mirror to see if there is any bleeding.

2 – Manage the Pain with Medication

Only Use the medications your dentist prescribes. If your oral surgeon has not provided you with a pain reliever prescriptions, you may take an over-the-counter pain relievers. Take the antibiotics that your dentist provides you

  • Take your first dose of pain medications as soon as possible before the anesthesia wears off.
  • It is best to complete your dosages of antibiotics and painkillers as prescribed.
  • Take the first dose of pain medication as soon as possible before the effects of the anesthesia wear off.

3 – Use an Ice Pack

Place an ice pack outside the area of extraction on your face. The ice pack helps reduce the bleeding and controls swelling by constricting blood vessels. Use an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.Then take it off for 30 minutes. Make sure your wrap the ice pack in a cloth or a towel and don’t place it directly on your skin. This should be done for the first 24-48 hours after your extraction. The swelling should subside after 48 hours and ice will no longer be needed for relief.

            • If you do not have an ice pack – you may use a plastic zipped bag with crushed ice or ice cubes.
            • Avoid generating heat in that area. Make sure you keep your hand away from the extraction area to prevent it from heating up.

4 – Use Tea Bags

Tea can help blood clot form because it has tannic acid. It helps contract your blood vessels. By using a tea bag, it can help reduce your bleeding. If you notice some bleeding an hour after your extraction, try placing a moist tea bag on the extraction site & bite down tightly to apply pressure to the area. Do NOT Soak the tea bags and do NOT use them dry. Just moisten the tea bag and bite down to apply pressure.

Do this for 20 to 30 minutes. If you try drinking cold tea, this may also help. However, applying the tea bag directly gives you better results.



5 – Salt Water Gargle

You should wait until the morning after your extraction to rinse your mouth. Prepare a warm saline rinse by mixing one teaspoon of salt into one 8-ounce glass of water. Gargle gently and slowly without creating any pressure. Then spit out the solution smoothly to avoid damaging the clot.

                  • Try to repeat rinsing the saline solution four to five times a day for several days after the extraction. Do this especially after meals and before bed.

6 – Rest

Make sure you get plenty of rest. Resting properly ensures a steady blood pressure. This helps facility healing of the gums and blood clotting.

DO NOT do any sort of physical activity for AT LEAST 24 hours after your extraction. Try to keep your head elevated slightly while you are resting – this makes sure that saliva and/or blood doesn’t cause a choking hazard.


    • You can use two pillows to prop yourself up when you go to sleep. This helps avoid sleeping on the extraction site keeps the extraction site from getting over heated.
    • Do not lift anything heavy or bend downwards.
    • ALWAYS sit in an upright position.

7 – Brush Your Teeth

24 hours after your extraction you may brush your teeth and tongue gently. DO NOT USE YOUR TOOTH BRUSH NEAR YOUR EXTRACTION SITE. To clean your extraction site – use the saline solution as mentioned above for the next three to four days.

                • You can keep up with your regular flossing and mouth wash routine. Just make sure you do not floss near the extraction site. Use an antiseptic mouthwash or rinse prescribed by your dentist. This will help kill bacteria and prevent infections.



8 – Eat the RIGHT foods

WAIT until the anesthesia wears off before attempting to eat food. Eat soft foods and use the opposite side of  the extraction site to chew. Cold/soft foods, like ice cream, can help soothe the pain while offering nourishment. Avoid hard, crumbly, crunch & hot foods. Also, do NOT use a straw – this can cause the blood clot to dislodge from your gums.

  • Do not skip meals – eat regularly.
  • Never eat food that is hot or warm – eat food that is cold or at room temperature.
  • Eat soft and mild-cold food such as :
    • ice cream
    • smoothies
    • pudding
    • gelatin
    • yogurt
    • soups
  • Make sure that what you what you are eating it’s TOO cold or TOO hard.
  • Do NOT chew on the extraction area.
  • Stay away from hard to chew foods such as: cereal, nuts, popcorn, etc. It can cause pain and will be difficult to eat. It may even injure your wound. Change your foods gradually from liquids to semi-solids, then eventually to solids as the first few days pass.
  • Do NOT use straws.
  • Avoid straws. Drinking with a straw creates suction pressure within the mouth, which may cause bleeding and prevent proper clotting, which can lead to dry sockets.
  • Avoid sticky food like bread, spicy food, alcohol, hot drinks, caffeine products, and carbonated drinks.
  • Avoid alcohol/tobacco for at least 24 hours after extraction.

The Healing Process After a Tooth Extraction

1 –  Swelling

In response to the surgery, your gums and mouth will swell. Plus you will probably be in pain. Keep in mind that this is normal. The pain typically begins to subside after three days or so. Make sure you use an ice pack against your cheek to soothe pain and reduce the inflammation and swelling during that time.

2 – Bleeding

After you have a tooth extracted – there is a lot of bleeding involved. This comes from the tiny blood vessels within the bone and gums. Keep in mind, bleeding should not be excessive or extreme. In some cases however, your dentist may help the healing process by placing sutures.

3 – Don’t disturb the clot

Within the first day or two, a clot will form. It is EXTREMELY important not to remove it or disturb it. Clotting is the first necessary step towards healing. Disturbing or removing the clot  can prolong your healing process which can also lead to more pain or an infection.

4 – Cell layer formation

For 10 days following the extraction – expect the cells of your gums to proliferate. They will form a layer of epithelium that helps bridge the gap produced by the extracted tooth. Do NOT disrupt this process while your wound is still healing.


Before Going In for a Tooth Extraction

1 – Pre-existing conditions

You should inform your dentist or oral surgeon about any medications you are currently taking. These may complicate the surgical procedure and cause problems during or after surgery.

2 – Smoking can cause issues

The development of gum disease has been known to be caused by smoking. The physical act of smoking can cause the blood clot to dislodge. The blood clot is necessary for healing to take place. Tobacco is also known for irritating the wound and complicate your healing process.

  • If you are a active current smoker – try to consider quitting before you have your tooth extracted.
  • If you decide not to quit smoking, be AWARE that patients should NOT smoke anything for at least 48 hour after their surgery. If you use chewing tobacco or dip – do NOT use tobacco for at least 7 days.

3 – Consult with your primary physician.

You may help avoid potential problems caused by medications you are taking or conditions you have by simply letting your primary doctor know about the surgery prior to the procedure.

4 – Be ready for when you come home

You should already have your ice packs in your freezer, have your soft food bought, prepared, and ready. Create a comfortable environment with enough pillows to be able to rest appropriately. If necessary, have driving arrangements

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