Post Care Instructions For Tooth Extractions By Dr. Smulson
Protecting Blood Clots
Maintain pressure by biting on the gauze pad that has been placed over the surgical area for one hour. Replace the gauze pad every one to two hours or as you feel necessary until bedtime. To promote clotting and prevent saliva from entering the wound, swallow saliva. You can also place a gauze pad in cold water, wring out all excess water from the gauze pad and apply firm pressure when biting down. Always remove the gauze pad when eating and then replace it with a new piece of gauze. After 24 hours, rinse with warm water gently twice a day.


Swelling
Following some surgical procedures it is normal to exhibit swelling, discoloration (of face or neck) and limited opening of the mouth.
  • First 24 Hours Only - Apply ice or cold compress to the face over the area where the surgery took place. Keep the ice or cold compress on for 30 minutes then off for 10 minutes. Repeat as you feel necessary.
  • After 24 Hours - You may use a warm, moist compress or a heating pad. WARM NOT HOT! Heat is used in the same manner as the cold compress to help the healing process and reduce swelling. Heat is used whenever you get a chance, during the day time or over night, as needed, for the next 5 to 6 nights.


Eating
Adequate food and fluid intake following surgery is very important. A liquid or soft diet is recommended for the first 48 hours. Consider some of the following foods: soups, broths, yogurts, instant breakfast items, milkshakes, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal.


Position
Do not stand for a long period of time or get up quickly from lying down. Doing so may cause dizziness and light-headedness. It is recommended that you lie back on a couple of pillows with your head elevated.


Absolute Don'ts
Below are some things to avoid during the first 48 hours after the extraction.
  • Don't rinse for the first 24 hours after surgery. The use of mouth wash during the healing period is not recommended.
  • Don’t drink through a straw for the first 48 hours.
  • Don’t smoke for the first 48 hours. Smoking may cause very painful dry sockets.
  • Don't drink alcohol for 24 hours after surgery or until you are finished taking all medications.
  • Don't engage in any strenuous activity for the first 24 to 48 hours after an extraction.
  • Don't pick at the surgical area.


Medications You May Be Prescribed
  • Penicillin / Clindamycin - This antibiotic is prescribed to help fight infection. Follow the instructions on the bottle and take until the entire prescription is gone.
  • Decadron - This is a corticosteroid that is used to help control swelling. Follow the instructions on the bottle and take until the entire prescription is gone.
  • Percocet - This is a stronger pain killer that is prescribed to help control severe pain. Follow the instructions on the bottle. This pain killer is usually only taken for the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure or as needed for severe pain. Do not consume alcohol while taking this medication!
  • Vicodin - This is a moderate pain killer that is prescribed to help control moderate pain. Follow the instructions on the bottle. This pain killer is usually taken after the percocet is no longer needed. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Do not take with any percocet if you are prescribed both and do not consume alcohol while taking this medication!