Post Op Instructions

Extraction After Care Instructions

How do I care for my mouth after an extraction? 

Wound care: Bite firmly on gauze pack that may have been placed for 15-20 minutes then remove it gently.  Replace new gauze if heavy bleeding persists.  Do not smoke for at least 12 hours, smoking will promote bleeding and interfere with healing.  Keep tongue and fingers away from the area of extraction.

Bleeding: It is normal to have slight bleeding for 2-3 days after extraction.  It might be advisable to use an old pillowcase the first night following an extraction.  Keep your head elevated with several pillows.  Try not to spit.  Do not drink through a straw because this promotes bleeding.  If bleeding begins again, place a damp tea bag directly over the site and bite firmly for 20 minutes.

Bruising: You may experience some mild bruising in the area of your extraction.  This is a normal response for some and should not be a cause for alarm.

Discomfort: Some discomfort is normal after surgery.  It can be controlled with pain medication (i.e. Advil, Motrin, or Tylenol).  Take the pain medication before the "numbness" wears off.  Make sure to take any prescribed medications as directed.  Do not drive and do not drink alcohol if you take prescription pain pills.  

Diet: Do not eat until the "numbness" wears off to ensure you won't bite your lips, tongue, or cheek.  Do all chewing on opposite side of mouth for 1 week.  It is important to drink a large volume of fluids.  Start with a modified diet consisting of cool or warm foods (i.e. ice cream, yogurt, warm soups).  Nothing HOT.  Return to normal diet as you feel comfortable.

Oral hygiene: Avoid rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth in the extraction area for the first 12 hours.  After 12 hours you may rinse gently with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 oz. of warm water) every 4-6 hours.  Brush your teeth gently but thoroughly.

Swelling: Swelling after extraction is a normal body reaction.  It reaches its maximum about 48 hours after extraction and usually lasts 4-6 days.  Apply ice packs over the area of extraction for the first 12 hours (alternating every 20 minutes).  Sometimes 2-3 days after your extraction you may develop a "dry socket".  If you experience an increase in pain and a foul mouth odor, contact our office.

Rest: Avoid strenuous activity for 3 days after your extraction.

Stiffness: After extraction you may experience jaw muscle stiffness and limited opening of your mouth.  This is normal and should improve within 5-10- days.

Stitches: If stitches have been place in the area of your extraction, you may need to have them removed.  Your doctor will advise you. 

Scaling and Root Planing After Care Instructions

What do I need to know after scaling and root planing?  

Care of the Mouth: All areas should be brushed and flossed as usual as long as they do not cause you discomfort.  You may find rinsing with warm salt water is soothing (1/4 tsp. salt in 1 glass of warm water). Do not use any alcohol-containing mouth rinses.

Discomfort: You can expect little to no discomfort in your gums.  Discomfort will vary according to the extent of your periodontal infection. The best method to maintain comfort is to take 600-800mg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours; do not wait until it hurts.  Discomfort is made worse by smoking and poor diet.

Tooth Sensitivity: On occasion, some patients may have increased sensitivity to temperature or sweets.  If this happens to you, please let us know at your next visit.  It usually resolves by itself, but there are some medications that can be applied to the tooth that can help reduce sensitivity.

Fever and Chills:  On rare occasion, some patients develop a low-grade (100 degree F or less) fever and chills in the first 24 hours after scaling and root planing.  If this happens, take Tylenol and drink plenty of fluids to reduce the fever.  

Jaw Muscle Discomfort:  On rare occasion, some patients can have an earache, headache, and/or discomfort in the jaw muscles after dental treatment.  This happens more often in patients who grind or clench their teeth.  Ibuprofen should help, but if it doesn't let us know at your next visit.

Antibiotics: If you were prescribed antibiotics, please take as directed until all are gone:

  • For women who are pregnant or who could be pregnant, do not take any medications without consulting your physician.  Birth control pills may not work effectively when you take certain antibiotics.  To be safe, use an alternative contraceptive method when taking antibiotics and for 2 weeks afterward.
  • Side effects: On occasion, some people have unfavorable reactions to antibiotics such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, itching, rash, hives, difficulty breathing or other side effects.  If this should happen to you, STOP taking your medications and go to the emergency room, if needed.

Bleeding:  A slight amount of bleeding for several hours following is common.  If you take a nap, cover your pillow with a towel.  If the bleeding persists, please call.

Smoking: Smoking can dramatically affect healing and cause premature loss of teeth.

Post surgery diet suggestions: Have only cool to warm liquids (not hot) to drink after your surgery until the numbness has worn off.  This is to prevent you from burning your lips, cheeks, or tongue.

Do not eat until the numbness has worn off.  This is to prevent you from biting your lips, cheeks or tongue.


     - Eggs (scrambled, soft boiled or poached)

     - Yogurt (avoid seeds)

     - Cottage cheese

     - Creamy soups

     - Mashed potatoes and gravy

     - Hot cereals

     - Applesauce

     - Ice cream

     - Jello

     - Pudding

     - Custard

     - Milk shakes (DO NOT JUST EAT SWEETS)


     - Spaghetti

     - Macaroni and cheese

     - Ravioli

     - Soups with chunks of meat and vegetables

     - Egg salad

     - Tuna salad

     - Ground meat


     - Popcorn

     - All nuts

     - All seeds

     - Chips (taco, tortilla, potato, etc.)

     - Granola

     - Any hard or crunchy foods

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