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Post-Operative: Extractions

Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully. 


A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Excessive bleeding may be controlled by first rinsing or wiping any old clots from your mouth, then placing a gauze pad over the area and biting firmly for thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary.


The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face is not uncommon. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The swelling will not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively. The swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. Ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on continuously while you are awake. After 24 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. Thirty-six hours following surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling


For moderate pain, over the counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) should be taken. Follow the instructions on the packaging. Do not take more than the daily recommended dosage. If pain becomes severe or persistent, please call the office.


No rinsing or spitting of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but rinse gently. The day after surgery you should begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day with a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. Brushing your teeth is okay — just be gentle at the surgical sites. A dry socket is when the blood clot dissolves or is removed prematurely from the tooth socket. Symptoms of pain at the surgical site and even pain to the ear may occur 2-3 days following surgery. It is not uncommon for pain to worsen before getting better. Call the office if this occurs.


Smoking is not allowed after extractions until the site is completely healed. Smoking will dramatically affect healing time, which may result in further complications and/or a delay in further treatment. The physical action of smoking may also interfere with the blood-clot that is necessary to heal the site.


You may eat your normal diet, but please keep in mind that any foods with small seeds or particles may become entrapped in the extraction site and may lead to irritation. Until the extraction site is fully healed, be mindful of what you are eating. Do not use straws for several days after an extraction; the “sucking” action may cause the blood clot (what forms to heal the site) to become dislodged and may result in a dry-socket.


Please communicate any issues or concerns with the office immediately.





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