A tooth extraction is an invasive surgical procedure. In order to maximize the healing process after surgery, please carefully follow these post-operative instructions:
Firm Gauze Pressure for 2 Hours: Firm gauze pressure stops bleeding. Bite down firmly and do not talk during this time. Relax sitting upright in a comfortable chair watching TV. If still bleeding after 2 hours, stack and fold 3 fresh gauze and apply to the wound for 1 hour at a time until bleeding stops.
Apply Cold Packs to Face: Apply bags of ice or frozen peas to each side of face. Hold bags in place with an ACE wrap, scarf, or towel. Alternate cold packs 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off for the first 48 hours. Keep head elevated on a recliner or couch while sleeping for the first 7 days to minimize swelling.
Elevate Head for the First 7 Days: Keep head elevated on a recliner or couch while sleeping for the first 7 days to minimize swelling. Do not lay flat on a bed for the first 7 days, as increased facial swelling will occur.
No Smoking: Do not smoke for at least the first 7 days. Smoking slows healing and increases the risk of infection and severe dry socket pain.
No Spitting: Do not spit for the first 7 days. Spitting can dislodge a blood clot, triggering bleeding and severe dry socket pain. If you feel like you need to spit, gently rinse water in your mouth and then let the water passively fall into the sink.
No Straws: Avoid straws for 7 days. Using a straw can dislodge a blood clot, triggering bleeding and severe dry socket pain. Eat smoothies and milkshakes with a spoon, or drink from a cup.
Diet: Day 1 – Cool, soft foods (i.e. ice cream, yogurt, smoothies, milkshakes – use a spoon, no straws). Days 2 to 7 – Soft, room temperature food (i.e. pasta, scrambled eggs, red beans, rice, mashed potatoes). Avoid hot and spicy foods. Make sure soup has been cooled to room temperature.
Medication: Take all medications with food to help prevent nausea. Use medications as directed by prescriptions. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery after IV sedation, or if you are taking narcotic medications (i.e. codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol) or nausea medication (promethazine), as they impair judgement and cause drowsiness.
Rinsing: Begin gentle rinsing on Day 2 after each meal. You may be prescribed Peridex (Chlorhexidine), or you may use over-the-counter alcohol-free mouthrinse or water. Rinsing keeps the mouth clean and decreases the risk of infection. Do not spit. Instead, gently rinse and then let the rinse passively fall into the sink.
Oral Hygiene: Use a soft bristle toothbrush (avoid electric toothbrush) to brush teeth normally, and brush delicately around the surgical site. Gently rinse with prescribed Peridex (Chlorhexidine) or over-the- counter alcohol-free mouthrinse or water, as directed by Dr. Jackson.
Activity: Frequent rest is important after surgery. Do not exercise for 1 week after surgery, as exercise can cause painful throbbing or bleeding at the surgical site.
Swelling: For the first 4-5 days after surgery, it is normal for you to experience swelling, pain, and even bruising, which then gradually disappear.
However, if you develop worsening pain, swelling, or fever, or have any other questions, please call Dr. Jackson: (504) 455-7161.