After Tooth Extraction

Home Instructions After the Removal of a Single Tooth

Home Instructions After Teeth Extraction

Closely follow these instructions for appropriate healing: 

  • You will leave with gauze in your mouth. It should stay in with pressure for 30 minutes.
  • You can eat a soft, cold meal immediately following your procedure, and then continue on a soft cold food diet for about 5 days. Here are our favorite post-op foods!
  • Once you have food in your stomach, we recommend starting your pain prescription. Your mouth will be numb for the majority of the day, but we want to make sure the pain doesn’t kick in before the numbing medication wears off. 
  • Continue taking your prescribed medications.
  • Start using Peridex 5 days after surgery if you have had PRF treatment. If you haven’t had PRF, you can start using it the night of surgery. Use it twice a day (morning and night). 
  • Use the provided ice pack on the site(s) for 15 minutes at a time for the first 2 days.
  • For 5 days after surgery, avoid these things: swishing, spitting, eating hot food or drink, drinking through a straw, carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages, heavy lifting of more than 15 pounds, strenuous activity. 

If bleeding continues: 

  • If the bleeding continues steadily, place a new, damp gauze in the site and keep pressure on it for an additional 30 minutes. We recommend placing your head on your hand with your elbow on a hard surface so that a good amount of pressure is kept in the site. 

If You Have Had Bone Grafting

If you have had bone grafting placed after tooth extraction, the healing process takes a bit longer. Please follow these additional instructions: 

  • Stay on a soft cold food diet for at least one full week, until the site has healed more thoroughly.
  • Again, for at least one full week, avoid these things- swishing, spitting, eating hot food or drink, drinking through a straw, carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages, heavy lifting of more than 15 pounds, strenuous activity. 
  • Stitches with bone grafting are more long lasting, and will be removed 2 weeks after surgery rather than 1 week. 
  • A typical post-op appointment happens 1 week after surgery, but the post-op after bone grafting will be 2 weeks after surgery. 

What will I feel like after teeth removal?

You will likely experience some pain, bruising, and swelling after surgery that will peak around day 3. It is also not uncommon to experience a bit of bleeding for a couple of days after the surgery. You will likely have sutures in your extraction sites and may feel them start to come out a few days to 2 weeks after surgery- they are dissolvable and this is perfectly normal! Some patients experience light-headedness, numbness, and extreme pain- while these are uncommon, they are not necessarily a sign of a serious issue. 

Potential Risks

Dr. Haynie will review relevant post-operative events with you and answer any questions during your office visit but as with any medical procedure, there are possible complications with having teeth removed. These include:

A representation of numbness caused by damage to a sensory nerve

Damage to Sensory Nerve:

A primary concern is a nerve within the lower jaw bone that supplies feeling to the lower lip, chin, and tongue. This nerve is frequently very close to the roots of the lower wisdom teeth. Having these teeth out between the ages of 12 and 18 usually provides shorter roots so that the nerve is not so close to the roots of these teeth. Occasionally, when the teeth are removed, and especially in older patients, the nerve can become injured. When local anesthesia wears off, you may experience a tingling or numbing sensation in the lower lip, chin, or tongue. Should this occur, it is usually temporary and will resolve gradually over a period of weeks or months. On rare occasions, it can result in a permanent alteration of sensation similar to having local anesthesia. We feel that you should be aware of this possibility before consenting to surgery.

A diagram showing the opening that can occur between your mouth and sinuses

Sinus Communication:

The upper wisdom teeth are situated close to your sinuses, and their removal can result in an opening between your mouth and the sinus. Once again, if the teeth are removed at an early age, the root formation is minimal, and this complication is very unlikely. However, if it does occur, it will usually close spontaneously, but we may give you special instructions to follow, such as avoiding blowing your nose for two or three days following the surgery. You can wipe your nose, but don’t blow your nose. If you have to sneeze, you should sneeze with an open mouth into a tissue. Pressure should not be created in the sinus area, which may dislodge the healing blood clot. If you sense this condition occurring after the surgery, please contact the office. An additional procedure may RARELY be necessary to close the opening.

A visual of dry socket that developed after the removal of wisdom teeth

Dry Sockets:

Dry sockets continue to be the most common problem people experience following dental surgery. They arise due to premature loss of a blood clot in the empty tooth socket. This seems to occur with greater frequency in people who smoke or are taking birth control pills. While both jaws can be affected, they usually occur in the lower jaw on the third to fifth day. They cause a deep, dull, continuous aching on the affected side(s). Patients may first notice the pain starting in the ear radiating down towards the chin.

The symptoms frequently begin in the middle of the night, and your pain medication regimen may not help. Treatment can involve changing your prescription. Occasionally it is helpful to place a medicated dressing in the empty tooth socket. This will help decrease the pain and protect the socket from food particles. The effectiveness in alleviating the pain lasts for 24-48 hours and may require dressing changes every day or two, for five to seven days. Dressings usually are removed when you have been pain-free for 2 to 3 days.

The dressing doesn’t aid in healing. The only reason to place a dressing is for pain control. If medication is controlling the pain, the socket will heal without a dressing. Following removal of the dressing, an irrigation device may be provided to help you to keep food particles from lodging in the extraction site.

A diagram depicting an infection that occurs after wisdom teeth removal


Occasionally, post-operative infections occur. This usually requires an office visit and clinical examination. Many times, just placing you on an antibiotic for one week will take care of the infection. If it persists, the area will have to be drained and cleaned. Other temporary problems you may experience in the post-operative period include stiffness of the jaws, chafing around the corners of your lips, facial bruising, and blood oozing from the extraction sites. The post-operative instruction sheet we will provide should answer many of the questions related to these more common concerns. If not, don’t hesitate to call the office at Coeur D’Alene Office Phone Number208-664-0844.

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