Longmeadow Family Dental Care Longmeadow Family Dental Care

Post-Operative Instructions for Tooth Extraction


After undergoing a tooth extraction procedure, it is important to follow post-operative instructions. Neglecting the guidelines may delay recovery. Expect some stiffness, swelling, slight bleeding, and mild pain after surgery. For the first 24 hours, it is recommended that a responsible adult observe the patient in case of a medical emergency. To ensure a timely and healthy recovery, follow these post-operative instructions and stay in contact with your Longmeadow dentist.

General Post-Operative Instructions:  

For the first few days following surgery, avoid sucking through a straw, swishing liquids around your mouth, and smoking. All of these motions can dislodge the blood clots needed to start the natural healing process. Also, keep anything sharp from entering the wound.


Eat soft foods for the first two days. Maintain a good, balanced diet and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Refrain from consuming alcohol.


Leave the gauze pad in place for 2-3 hours following surgery.  You may replace the gauze if bleeding still occurs after 2-3 hours.


Use ice to reduce swelling for the first 12-24 hours. Apply ice to the affected area of the face for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.

Pain and Medication:

Expect some pain following surgery, peaking during the first few hours. To minimize pain, take two Tylenol, Advil, or similar non-aspirin pain reliever every 3 to 4 hours until bedtime. If pain medication is prescribed, take it as instructed on the label with soft foods to avoid nausea. Additionally, take prescribed antibiotic medication as instructed until all of the pills are gone to avoid infection.

Oral Hygiene: 

Do not brush your teeth for the first day following surgery. After 24 hours you may gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. Once 3 days have passed, you may gently brush your teeth, avoiding the affected area. Good oral hygiene is important to normal wound healing.


After leaving the office, rest and avoid strenuous activities for the first 24 hours. After 2-3 days, resume normal activities at your own pace. Avoid contact sports for at least one week following your tooth extraction.

Please call your dentist if you have uncontrollable pain, excessive bleeding, difficulty breathing, or other disturbing problems at any point during your recovery. By following these post-operative instructions and those given by your dentist, you will be on the road to recovery in a timely manner. If you have questions regarding post-operative care after undergoing a tooth extraction procedure, call or make an appointment with your Longmeadow dentist today.