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Tooth Extraction: Do’s And Don’t’s Of Post-op Care

Tooth extraction

Adults in the United States undergo millions of tooth extractions every year with the help of oral surgeons and dentists. The most important thing you can do after oral surgery is to take care of the extraction site at your extraction site. This goes for any reason you might be having your tooth pulled, including decay, trauma, overcrowding, and wisdom teeth.

At San Diego Smile Center, we believe knowledge is power and that it is essential that you follow your post-operative instructions after tooth extraction. Extractions can be intimidated, but Dr Cortes is here to answer all questions and concerns. Contact us for more dental services which include Root Canals, Teeth Whitening, Veneers & Dental Implants San Diego.

Post-op Instructions For Tooth Extraction: Day 1 & 2

Maintaining the blood clot that forms in your tooth socket is the key to a successful tooth extraction recovery. The healing process includes an important step to help you avoid complications, such as dry sockets. A dry socket is a painful condition when a blood clot does not form or becomes dislodged, exposing the underlying bone and nerves. The following after-care do’s and don’ts aid in promoting a healthy blood clot and healing.

The DO’S Of Tooth Extraction

The following things should be done after tooth extraction to promote blood clotting and healing:

  • Gauze promotes clotting and stops bleeding – Following your extraction, your dentist will send you home with gauze wrapped around the extraction site. Bite gently to apply pressure while leaving this gauze in place. This helps to stop the bleeding and promote clot development. Change the gauze as necessary. Retain the gauze for several hours after the extraction.
  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep –After tooth extraction, the body needs time to heal. It is important to avoid strenuous activity for the first 48 hours and rest for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Keeping your head elevated – Keeping your head elevated on extra pillows will help the blood clot and promote healing.


  • Prescription medications –Your dentist may provide prescription medications or recommend over-the-counter medications for pain relief. Antibiotics may also be prescribed for infection prevention. Take pain medications as needed and take antibiotics until the pain is gone. By doing so, you will speed up the healing process and reduce your chances of complications.
  • Use ice packs for swelling and pain relief –During the first 24 hours, apply ice packs to your face at 15-minute intervals to help ease swelling and pain.
  • Don’t eat hard foods – The extraction site can be irritated by foods, resulting in clot dislodgement. Stick to soft foods during the first 24 to 48 hours, such as yoghurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, or soup. Be sure to avoid chewing on the side of the extraction site.

The DONTs of tooth extraction

The extraction site can be irritated by certain things and affect clotting and healing. Avoiding these things to ensure a speedy recovery and minimise your risk of dry socket is crucial.

  • Cigarette smoking – When you have a tooth extracted, the chemicals found in tobacco can affect blood clotting and cause you to experience a dry socket. If you smoke, you should refrain from doing so for 48 hours after the procedure.
  • Straws should never be used – Straws cause a sucking action that can dislodge your clot, increasing your risk of bleeding and dry socket. For the next 48 hours, do not use straws.
  • Spit is not allowed – Spitting is a simple solution and may seem like a simple solution to controlling increased saliva and blood after tooth extraction, but it places pressure on the mouth and can affect blood clotting. Instead, lean over the sink and let blood and saliva drip.

Dental extractions

  • Do not rinse your mouth –While you may be tempted to rinse or gargle to clean your mouth, avoid this for the first 48 hours as it can slow the clotting or even dislodge a clot.
  • Do not sneeze or blow your nose –A tooth extraction on the upper jaw is more likely to cause discomfort. It is possible to dislodge a clot when you blow your nose or sneeze. When you can’t avoid a sneeze, keep your mouth open to avoid increased pressure.
  • Try not to poke your tongue at the extraction site – While it may feel strange to have an open space where you once had a tooth, keep your tongue away from it. This may dislodge a healing clot and increase your chances of developing a dry socket.

Visit Your Dentist After A Tooth Extraction

Healing the extraction site can take up to ten days. Healing times will vary based on the individual. Healing may also take more time after wisdom teeth extractions, depending on which teeth were extracted. It is common to see signs of blood after a clot has formed. Saliva can pick up blood and appear to bleed when it mixes in the mouth. Small amounts of bleeding are average, but more significant or constant bleeding is not. You should immediately contact your dentist or oral surgeon if you experience any of these signs or symptoms.

  • Inflammation and pain – Pain and swelling are normal after tooth extractions; however, it may suggest a problem if the pain or swelling increases or spreads into the ear, it may suggest a problem.
  • The persistent bleeding should stop within 24 hours, but you may continue to see small amounts of blood afterwards. You should contact your dentist immediately if the bleeding persists.
  • Fever – This is an indicator of infection.
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Extraction site drainage – If drainage has a foul odour or taste, it may indicate an infection.

Our caring staff at San Diego Smile Centre will do everything to make you feel confident in the procedure and recover. If you want more information or have questions about your recovery, contact us online or call our office at (858) 566-0842.

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