Home Care Instructions for Extractions

You have just completed the surgical phase of periodontal therapy. As with any surgical procedure, some tenderness and swelling is normal and to be expected after a tooth extraction. Follow the instructions below to promote healing.


800 mg of Advil, Ibuprofen or Motrin is to be taken every 6 hours for 3 days. This helps to minimize discomfort and reduce swelling. If other medications are prescribed, take as directed. Take the next dose as directed.


Apply ice to the outside of your face at the surgical site, alternating 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, for 6 hours after surgery. This helps minimize swelling which generally occurs 24 to 72 hours after surgery. Swelling lasts about 4 hours then subsides. DO NOT use ice after 6 hours.


You have been given gauze to apply pressure to the extraction site for 1 hour. Moisten the gauze fold in half, then fold in half again and place over the extraction area. Bite down on the gauze to apply pressure. Replace gauze when saturated and continue to apply pressure. If bleeding continues after 1 hour, dampen a tea bag and place it on the extraction site like the gauze, for 15 to 30 minutes. The tannins in the tea should stop the bleeding.


Salt water rinses are to begin the day following surgery and should continue until you return to the office for your first postoperative visit. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water and gently swish as if using mouthwash. This will bathe the surgical area and promote healing. Rinses should be done 3 to 5 times a day.


Do not spit as this can dislodge the clots forming in the extraction area. When rinsing, allow the solution to gently fall out of your mouth.


Avoid the surgical site. Eat soft foods and drink lots of liquids until your first postoperative visit. Examples include pasta, ground beef, fish, soups, etc.


Do not brush the surgical site, but do brush your teeth.


Do not drink through a straw. Do not smoke. Avoid vigorous exercise, extreme mouth movements, and mouth swishing.


If you have prolonged pain, severe bleeding, a fever, or any other urgent questions or concerns, please contact us. For our Rocky River office, call 440-331-3044. For our Strongsville office, call 440-238-4000. If you call outside our business hours, our voicemail message will provide Dr. Tom’s personal number. Dr. Tom is often available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency.

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