Before removing a tooth, your dentist will take a complete medical history, including medications you are taking and allergies to medications you have. Especially important is whether you are on anticoagulant drugs ( like Coumadin or Plavix) which may cause excessive bleeding. The denist will then give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. If more than one tooth is to be removed, or on other rare occasions, a suture (stitch) may be used to close the extraction socket. The suture will need to be removed in 4-7 days. The dentist will then instruct you as to post-extraction instructions.

What To Expect After Tooth Extraction

In most cases, the recovery period lasts only one day. Expect some soreness, possibly swelling, and occasionally some black and blue. Take any medications as prescribed by your dentist (antibiotics, pain medication), and take all your other routine daily medications unless specifically told by the dentist not to. The following tips will help speed your recovery:

  1. Do NOT rinse, swish, or spit for 24 hours. Do NOT suck fluids through a straw. Do NOT SMOKE for 24 hours. Do NOT brush your teeth for 24 hours.
  2. Bite firmly on a gauze pad placed directly on the socket for 20 minutes. Dispose of the gauze, and place new gauze pad and bite for an additional 20 minutes, then discard the gauze. While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue.
  3. You can use an ice pack on the outside of your face, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, for the first 24 hours.
  4. Relax after the extraction. You've been through a lot. You can drink any liquids 2 hours after the extraction, and soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, soup or pasta 3 hous after the extraction. After 24 hours, you can resume eating a normal diet of solid foods.
  5. After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  6. If at any time excessive bleeding, swelling, or pain occurs, the dentist should be contacted at once.