After Tooth Extraction

Post-Operative Instructions for Healing

Important: Please read the information below to help your recovery from your tooth extraction procedure at San Luis Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center. If you have any questions, please call us at: San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611.


After tooth extraction, it is important for a blood clot to form in the extraction socket in order to stop bleeding and begin the healing process. To stop bleeding, please place a gauze pad over the extraction site and apply pressure by biting down for 30–45 minutes. If the bleeding or oozing persists, exchange the used gauze pad for a new one, and bite down firmly for another 30-45 minutes. Repeat this process until bleeding is minimal or stops. Slight bleeding is expected for up to 48 hours after surgery. 

Once a blood clot has formed, it is important not to disturb or dislodge it. Refrain from vigorous rinsing, spitting, use of a straw, smoking, drinking alcohol, or brushing teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours.  

Pain Management and Swelling 

After tooth extraction, you may experience pain and swelling. A reusable ice pack is provided post operatively and should be applied to the cheek area off and on in 20-minute intervals for up to 12 hours to reduce swelling and to aid discomfort. When lying down, keep your head elevated above your heart by using two pillows. Swelling can peak 2-3 days after surgery and will gradually decrease after that period.  

Take prescribed pain medication as needed for discomfort. You may use over the counter medications such as 1 Extra Strength Tylenol (500mg) in combination with 1-2 Ibuprofen (200mg) every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain, without exceeding the daily maximum dosage. 

Post-Operative Medication 

Use prescription or OTC pain medications as directed. Do not drive if you have been sedated or are taking a narcotic. If antibiotics are prescribed, take them as directed and for the indicated length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Please call our office if there are any concerns regarding post-operative medications at: San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number805-San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611


Stay hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of fluid (non-citrus). We encourage you to eat nutritious, soft food for a few days after the extraction. Examples include but are not limited to: yogurt, oatmeal, soups, eggs, protein shakes, and smoothies. Avoid chewing on the extraction site and do not chew while you are numb. You can gradually add normal foods back into your diet as the site heals. 

Oral Hygiene and Normal Routines 

It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth. We recommend rinsing your mouth gently after meals with a saline solution of ½ teaspoon of salt in 8oz of lukewarm water. This will promote a clean environment for healing. If an appliance was fabricated for temporary tooth replacement, please remove and clean daily. If the appliance is causing discomfort, please contact your dentist for necessary adjustment. 

 Activity level should be kept to a minimum for at least 24 hours after surgery. After a few days you may resume your normal activity, dictated by your comfort. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued/increased swelling for 4-5 days, or a reaction to a medication, please call our office immediately at San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number805-San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611.   

After Multiple/Full Mouth Extraction 

The removal of multiple teeth at one time or a full mouth extraction is quite different than extraction of one or two teeth. For full mouth extractions with immediate denture placement, alveolar bone is shaped and smoothed prior to insertion of dentures. The following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal: 

  • Surgical sites and surrounding tissue will swell. Peak swelling will be about 2-3 days after surgery. Swelling and discoloration may occur around the eyes, cheeks, and chin area. Beginning 36 hours after surgery, you may apply a moist, warm towel continuously to help with discoloration (ice packs are recommended for the first 36 hours after surgery as needed). 
  • Depending on the extent of the procedure, there may be bleeding throughout the day after surgery. If you have had immediate dentures placed, do not remove them unless the bleeding is severe. Some bleeding may be visible around the side of the denture. Gauze pressure can be applied to the cheek side of the dentures if necessary. 
  • A sore throat may develop. The muscles of the throat are near surgical sites. Swelling of throat muscles can cause discomfort. This is normal and should subside in 2–3 days. 
  • If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may feel dry. Your lips can be moistened with an ointment such as Vaseline.  
  • There may be a slight elevation of body temperature for 24–48 hours. If an increase in body temperature persists, please notify our office. 
  • If immediate dentures have been inserted, sore spots may develop on your gum tissue. Typically, your dentist will see you within 24–48 hours after surgery and make the necessary adjustments to relieve any sore spots. Failure to do so may result in severe denture sores, which may prolong the healing process.  

After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 4–5 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately at San Luis Obispo Office Phone Number 805-541-5611.