Tooth Extraction (Post-Operative Instructions)


  • Keep relatively quiet the day of the extraction. Keep the head elevated, higher than the heart.
  • The sedated patient may resume normal activities in 24 hours.


  • Someone should stay with the sedated patient for 3 to 4 hours after surgery.
  • Do not use power tools or other dangerous machinery for at least 24 hours after surgery. Pain pills may affect the ability for 3 to 4 hours after each dose.
  • Legally, you may not drive for 24 hours after sedation and should not sign any important papers.

Gauze packs

  • Change gauze packs every 30 minutes as needed. Discontinue gauzes when bleeding stops, usually after 3 to 4 hours. Do not leave the gauze in overnight.
  • A sleeping patient should be aroused to check the gauze every 20 minutes. Never let a patient sleep unattended or for long periods with gauze packs in the mouth.
  • If oozing starts, bite on gauze pack until the bleeding stops. You can also use a wet teabag like gauze and bite down on it (for example, a Salada or Lipton teabag; do not use herbal or decaffeinated teabags.).


  • The patient can drink at any time. Remove all gauze to drink, then replace gauze packs as needed. Do not drink hot drinks; drink only cold drinks for the first 24 hours.
  • To avoid biting the tongue, the patient can eat as soon as feeling returns and bleeding stops.
  • The patient can eat cold, soft foods (ice cream, jello, yogurt, pudding, sherbet, cottage cheese) for the first 24 hours. After the first 24 hours, you can add warm, soft foods (soups, soft cooked pasta dishes, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, cream of wheat). Avoid hard, crunchy foods (bagels, pizza, hamburgers, popcorn, chips). Gradually advance your diet as tolerated.

Pain management

  • Take prescribed pain medication before feeling returns to the involved area. Take medication with milk, ice cream, or anything that doesn't require chewing.
  • Take pain medication as directed. We recommend you take Ibuprofen 800 mg every 8 hours, added Percocet (Vicodin) every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Do not take additional Tylenol.
  • Ice packs to the jaw can reduce pain, swelling and/or bleeding the first 24 hours then heat at intervals only.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages while using pain pills or antibiotics.

Care of the mouth after tooth extraction

  • To help prevent a "dry socket," do not smoke, rinse, spit, or brush for 24 hours.
  • 24 hours after surgery, begin brushing teeth and start rinsing with warm salt water.

Miscellaneous instructions

  • If we gave you an IV medication for swelling, it will wear off between the second and third day. You may feel more discomfort than previously experienced. This is normal; however, if pain increases or is not alleviated with pain medicine, call the office.