AFTER A SINGLE EXTRACTION

Immediately Following Surgery

After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That is the reason we place gauze at your surgical site and ask you keep it in place until you arrive home. If the red bleeding persists, rinse with Listerine or the prescribed mouthwash by gently swishing the rinsing. Additionally you may place a tight ball of gauze at the bleeding surgical area and putting direct pressure on the gauze with your finger for 10 minutes. If you run out of gauze (note: there is gauze provided in your take home kit), a moistened tea bag can be used in place of gauze. You may have to do this several times.

After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids healing. Do not rinse vigorously. Do not use a straw for 2 weeks. Do not brush or flosh the teeth next to the extraction site until the evening of the day of surgery. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and retard the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

After the tooth is extracted, you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or a small, unopened bag of frozen peas or corn, applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. The swelling usually begins decreasing after 48 hours.

Use the pain medication as directed (scroll down for a summary of the medication instructions). If antibiotics are prescribed, take them according to the instructions even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluid and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can generally eat as soon as you are comfortable.

It is important to resume your normal oral routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.

After a few days, you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have severe pain, continued swelling for more than 3 to 4 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately. 

Medication:

•    Take antibiotics as prescribed. Dr. Clayhold will have reviewed this and provided a starting time before you departed the office for home. 

•    You will take 800 mg of generic Ibuprofen or Advil at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime for the next 7 to 10 days. For over the counter Ibuprofen, this is purchased as 200 mg pills, so you will need 4 pills each dose. If you still have pain one hour after taking Ibuprofen, take EITHER Extra Strength Tylenol, aka Acetaminophen, every 6 hours OR the prescribed narcotic, Vicodin or Hydrocodne while still continuing the Ibuprofen. Do not drive or work around heavy equipment while taking the narcotic as it slows your reaction time. Please contact us at the office if you have any questions or for any clarification.

•    Start taking pain medications about 90 minutes after the procedure so it can take effect as the local anesthesia wears off. Before you leave the office, Dr. Clayhold will give you a specific time to begin the Ibuprofen. It is important that food is eaten or a huge glass of water or other liquid be drunk with pain medication to prevent an upset stomach.

•    If you develop any rash, diarrhea, or another bad reaction not typical for you, it may be due to one or more of the medicines that we have given you, stop taking them immediately and call the office. You may or may not be given a different prescription.

Diet:

•    Do not use straws! Do not chew over the area that you had surgery until you see the doctor.

•    You should maintain a soft diet (smoothies, eggs, well-cooked pasta, etc.) for 1 to 2 weeks or until you see the doctor. For more detail and suggestions, please visit the “Eating During Oral Surgery Recovery” section. 

Other:

•    Immediate application ice will minimize swelling. Apply an ice pack or small unopened bag of peas or corn on the cheek outside the surgical area as much as can be tolerated for 48 hours. After 48 hours, ice has no beneficial effect, and the application of heat to the sides of the face is more effective in reducing the swelling. The ice pack that was provided by our team can be heated in the microwave or in hot water on the stove. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face is common following surgery. This is the body’s normal reaction to the surgery and plays a role in your healing. The swelling will not reach its peak until 36 to 48 hours post-operation. If swelling or jaw stiffness persists for several days, there is no cause for alarm. Everyone is a little different, and this is a normal reaction to surgery. 

•    Use an antiseptic mouth rinse, like Listerine, (chlorhexidine or Peridex™, if prescribed) beginning the evening of the procedure. This will help with bad taste or odor of your healing mouth. The day after surgery you should rinse with Listerine 5 to 10 times a day especially after eating. Please note the instructions on the prescribed mouthwash are for 2 rinses a day, but you could use Listerine in between.

•   Brushing and flossing are important to keep your mouth clean. Just be sure not to brush directly over the area that you had work on. You can brush your teeth the night of your surgery but work gently in the area that is healing.

•    Any stitches will dissolve on their own unless we told you differently.