Tooth Extraction Post-Operative Instructions

Following a tooth extraction, proper aftercare is crucial for optimal healing and to avoid complications. This guide provides post-operative instructions for patients of Smile Science Dental Spa in Glendale, AZ.


Immediate Aftercare (First 24 Hours)

  1. Bite Down on the Gauze Pad: Keep gentle pressure on the gauze pad that was placed over the extraction site for at least 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, replace with a fresh gauze pad and continue to apply pressure.

  2. Avoid Physical Activity: Rest for the remainder of the day. Avoid any strenuous activities as they can increase bleeding.

  3. Don’t Rinse or Spit Forcefully: Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the extraction to help clot formation.

  4. Avoid Using Straws: Sipping through a straw can dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.

  5. Dietary Restrictions: Consume soft foods and liquids. Avoid hot, spicy, or crunchy foods.

Pain and Swelling Management

  1. Cold Compress: Apply an ice pack to the affected side of the face in 15-minute intervals to reduce swelling for the first 24-48 hours. After that, you may use a heating pad to promote healing, improve circulation to the area, and soothe discomfort.

  2. Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen may be taken as directed. In most cases for adults, we recommend alternating between Ibuprofen and Tylenol for pain relief. Ibuprofen should be taken every six hours. Tylenol should be taken between doses of Ibuprofen for breakthrough pain. For example:

Time Ibuprofen Tylenol
1:00 PM 400 mg None
5:00 PM None 500 mg
7:00 PM 400 mg None
  • Take medications as directed. The above dosages are for healthy, normal-functioning adults. If you have renal, or liver impairment, do not follow these instructions. Also, these instructions are not suitable for children. Additionally, your physician may advise against one or more of these medications depending on your health conditions, it is your responsibility to inform your dentist of these limitations. If you have questions or concerns and you are patient of ours, contact us and discuss with Dr. Dawson or Dr. Turke.

Oral Hygiene

  1. Rinsing: 24 hours after the extraction, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water) after meals and before bed.

  2. Brushing and Flossing: Continue with regular brushing, but avoid the extraction site for the first few days.

Potential Complications

  1. Dry Socket: If severe pain arises a few days post-operation, it might indicate a dry socket. This occurs when the blood clot is dislodged, exposing the bone.

  2. Infection: Signs include fever, abnormal swelling, or a bad taste in the mouth. If you suspect an infection, contact us immediately.

  3. Prolonged Bleeding: Some oozing is normal, but if bleeding continues heavily after 24 hours, please get in touch.

Rare Complications

  1. Nerve Damage: On rare occasions, the nerve below the extracted tooth, especially in the lower jaw, can be damaged. Signs include numbness or tingling of the tongue, lip, or chin. If you notice these symptoms, it’s essential to contact us immediately.

  2. Jaw Fracture: Though extremely rare, it’s possible for the jawbone to be inadvertently injured during the extraction, leading to a minor fracture. Symptoms include severe pain, difficulty opening the mouth, or any unnatural movement. Please contact us right away if you suspect a fracture.

  3. Sinus Issues: For extractions of upper back teeth, there’s a slight risk of a sinus communication or infection. If you experience a consistent bad taste in your mouth, nasal discharge, or feel air entering the mouth when breathing through the nose, you might be having sinus complications. It’s essential to reach out to us if you notice any of these signs.

Remember, always follow the given instructions closely, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Smile Science Dental Spa in Glendale, AZ with any concerns. Your comfort and health are of utmost importance to us.

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