Aftercare Instructions: Extractions and Oral Surgery

The following tips can help with healing and reduce the severity of post-extraction pain, swelling, infection and bleeding.

  • Continue to bite gently on the gauze pack over the wound for 30 minutes to encourage clotting
  • Some blood will ooze from the socket for several hours, this is normal. 
  • Should the wound start to bleed excessively:
    – fold the cotton-gauze (provided) or a clean handkerchief and bite firmly for another 30 minutes.
    – If prolonged bleeding occurs, contact Choice Dental or your local hospital
Swelling and Bruising
  • Swelling and bruising is a normal and common response to any oral surgery, and its severity differs from person to person. 
  • Swelling and bruising usually takes 3 days to reach its maximum, then 10 days to subside. 
  • If you are experiencing any swelling or bruising, apply an ice pack to the affected area (20 minutes on/20 minutes off) for the first 1 – 2 days.  A bag of frozen peas wrapped in paper towel can work well if an ice pack is not available.  
  • Continuing to move your jaw by gentle talking & chewing will also help to minimise any swelling & associated jaw stiffness.
Care after Extraction/Surgery
  • Do not eat, drink or rinse for the first 4 hours. (Briefly drinking water to take painkiller tablets is the exception and allowed in the first 4hrs)
  • Rest for few hours, but do not lie flat. Keep your head elevated with 2 pillows. (It is advised to cover your pillow with a towel overnight to prevent blood stains)
  • Start brushing and cleaning your teeth like normal within 12hrs of the oral surgery 
  • Avoid sucking or spitting for 24 hours
  • Excessive activity is best avoided for 24 hours
  • After 24 hours it is best to use warm salty water, or an antiseptic rinse recommended by your dentist. This may be carried out after each meal for 14 days, or until healing is complete.  This is to wash food away from the wound (which can disrupt healing). 
  • A saltwater mouth rinse is made by dissolving a level teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. 
  • The solution should be held in the mouth for 2-3 minutes to bathe the wound and flush out food debris.
  • Avoid smoking or alcohol for at least 7 days
  • Smoking and alcohol both cause the body to not heal properly.  This is due to the harmful chemicals contained in both substances.  
  • Healing can become delayed and painful if smoking and alcohol is not avoided within the first 7 days.   
Safe Foods to Eats

For 7 days, eat soft, nutritious foods such as:

  • Finely chopped meat or cheese, yoghurt, soft-boiled eggs, soups, mashed potato, pasta and porridge
  • Chew on the opposite side of your mouth to the wound
  • Avoid small hard foods that can get lodged in the open wound like nuts, seeds and grains 
  • Avoid spicy foods like chillies, and acidic foods like lemon juice etc
  • Avoid Alcohol
Controlling Pain

Pain is normal after extraction/surgery and can last 7-10 days.  If mild, choose Panadol, or Nurofen/Ibuprofen.  If pain is severe, take Panadol and Nurofen/ibuprofen together at the same time.

(Do not take Nurofen/ibuprofen if you have been told in the past by a doctor or pharmacist that it is medically not suitable for you)  

  • DO NOT take Aspirin for pain relief, as this will increase bleeding
  • Take pain relief medication approximately 3 hours after your extraction, then every 6-8 hours on the day of treatment. 
  • Continue taking painkillers for 7-10 days if pain persists.  

Your Pain Relief Schedule:

  • Mild pain: Take Panadol only, as directed by the packaging
  • Moderate Pain: Take Panadol and Nurofen/Ibuprofen TOGETHER at the same time, as directed by the respective packaging
  • Severe Pain: Contact Choice Dental or your local GP.  
  • If stitches were placed, these will self-dissolve in 14-20days.  Typically, you do not need to return to get the stitches removed.  
  • You should still brush your teeth as normal 12hrs from the extraction time, but be careful to be gentle around the stitches by not being too vigorous with your toothbrush.  Excessive brushing force can damage the stitches and disrupt the tissues from healing normally. 
Numbness duration
  • Your numbness from the anaesthetic will last 6-8 hours.  During this time, be careful not to have anything too hot or cold, as you won’t be able to feel pain if you accidently burn yourself
  • Avoid biting your soft tissues like your lip, cheek and tongue as you may cause a soft tissue injury
How long does it take for the wound to close?
  • The gum takes 3-4weeks to completely close over the wound site.  During this time, you will notice the wound opening appear smaller and smaller.  
  • The bony cavity where the tooth used to be takes 3-4 months to fully fill in with new bone formation
What is a Dry Socket?

A Dry socket occurs within 3-5 days after surgery, most commonly a result of the blood clot being washed out of the socket, or if food has lodged in the wound, causing a disruption of normal healing. Rather than pain subsiding, it will increase.  If you follow these instructions, you will minimise your chances of developing a dry socket.  Even with the best post-surgery care, on average a dry socket can occur in 2% of all extractions, purely by chance.  In addition, smoking increases the risk of dry socket by 10-fold, so avoid smoking in the first 7 days otherwise the chance of a dry socket becomes high.  

If pain increases after a few days or for further advice, please call Choice Dental on 3809 3320

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