Post-Extraction Instructions

Please Read and Follow These Instructions Carefully

Each individual reacts differently to extractions. Therefore, not all of these instructions may apply. Only use those appropriate for your circumstances. The proper care following extractions will hasten recovery and prevent complications.


A wet gauze is placed over the extraction site to prevent excessive bleeding and to promote the healing blood clot. Keep constant, non-interrupted pressure on it for 30-35 minutes and replace it if bleeding continues. Slight bleeding for a few days following an extraction is normal. IF persistent bleeding occurs, rinse gently with ice-cold water and place gauze pads or cold wet tea bag over the bleeding area. Bite down firmly on the gauze or tea bag for 45 minutes. Again, ensure that the pressure is constant and non-interrupted. Repeat if necessary.


Refrain from rinsing for 48 hours following the extraction. After 24 hours, gentle rinsing with warm salt water is recommended. (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water every 3-4 hours.)


Swelling is to be expected and usually reaches its maximum in 48-72 hours. To minimize swelling, cold packs or ice bag wrapped in a towel should be applied to the face adjacent to the extraction area. This should be applied 20 minutes on, then removed for 20 minutes during the first 12-24 hours after the extraction. After 24 hours, it is usually best to switch from using the cold pack, to applying moist heat or low-temperature heating pad to the same area until the swelling has receded.


For the first 48 hours, refrain from smoking or drinking alcoholic and/or carbonated beverages. They are a detriment to the healing process. In addition, avoid the use of a straw. The suction could dislodge the healing clot.


Touching the extraction site with fingers, toothpicks and/or tongue may cause irritation, increased bleeding and/or infection. The blood clot, which forms over the area, is nature’s way of healing and should not be disturbed. It is not uncommon for small, sharp bone fragments to work their way through the gums. The dentist can remove them if they are irritating.


A soft, bland diet with plenty of cold liquids is recommended for the first day. Stay away from very hot foods such as soups. Nuts, popcorn or foods with seeds should also be avoided because they can become lodged in the socket. Chewing should be done away from the extraction site.


Unfortunately, extractions may cause some discomfort for a few days. A non-aspirin analgesic is the drug of choice. If an over-the-counter pain medication does not relieve the discomfort, a stronger medication can be prescribed.

Oral Hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean after extractions is essential since the accumulation of food or debris may promote infection. Make every effort to brush and floss within your comfort level. Be extra gentle near the extraction site. This will eliminate the bad breath and unpleasant taste that is common after an extraction.

Dry Socket

Failure of a blood clot to form results in a dry socket. This would usually be most noticeable and painful on the 3rd to 5th day. The symptoms include: constant, nagging pain in the jaw area that persists several days after the extraction. If this severe pain persists, the dentist can easily relieve this condition.

It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. If you have any questions about your progress or any symptoms you are experiencing, please call our office. For your convenience, Racine Dental Group, S.C. has a twenty-four hour answering service.

Main Switchboard and 24-hour Answering Service: 262-637-9371

1101 S. Airline Road, Racine, WI 53406

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