Post-Op Tooth Extraction Instructions

Our dentist has finished your extraction, but you’re only halfway there. The success of this procedure depends on the post-care you provide. For best results, please follow these instructions.

The first stage in the healing of an extraction wound is the formation of a blood clot. The blood clot seals the socket and stops the bleeding. Avoid clot disturbance so the natural healing process can continue.

On the Day of Extraction


  • Avoid rinsing, gargling, or spitting.
  • Bite on the given gauze pack for 15 minutes to limit bleeding
  • If the pad becomes soaked with blood, dampen a new gauze pad with clean lukewarm water, replace the old pad and repeat until the area is clotted.
  • Apply pressure by closing the teeth firmly over the pad
  • Pressure should be maintained for 30 to 45 min
  • Do not chew on the gauze
  • Do not disturb the extraction site with your tongue

A slight amount of blood may leak from the extraction site until a clot form.


Do NOT clean the teeth next to the healing tooth socket for the rest of the day. You should, however, brush and floss your other teeth well and begin cleaning the teeth next to the healing tooth socket the next day. You can also brush your tongue. This will help get rid of the bad breath and unpleasant taste that are common after an extraction.

The day after the extraction, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (half a teaspoon salt in a glass of lukewarm water) after meals to keep food particles out of the extraction site. Try not to rinse your mouth vigorously, as this may loosen the blood clot. If you have hypertension, discuss with your dentist whether you should rinse with saltwater. Avoid using a mouthwash during this early healing period unless your dentist advises you to do so.

Swelling and Pain

After a tooth is removed, you may have some discomfort and notice some swelling. This is normal. To help reduce swelling and pain, try applying an ice bag or cold, moist cloth to your face. Your dentist may give you specific instructions on how long and how often to use a cold compress.

For at least 4 Days following surgical tooth removal and two days following simple tooth extraction:


  • Smoking and alcohol
  • Strenuous exercise, heavy lifting
  • Operating heavy machinery
  • Hot foods (temperature)
  • Sticking your tongue, fingers etc. in the healing areas
  • Sucking through a straw, playing wind instruments, squeezing your nose when sneezing (if you have had upper teeth removed)

Rinse with:

  • Plenty of warm salt water as desired or
  • Savacol (available at chemists) mouth rinse three times daily for up to a week only.

Have plenty of bed rest and soft, nutritious food to aid healing.


(if used) may take up to 2 weeks to dissolve. Depending on the stitches ‘ location, it may take 1-2 days for some stitches to come off. If stitches remain after two weeks, they can be uncomfortable, so please get in touch with us to have them removed.

Dry Socket

NB: Smokers are at high risk of developing a ‘dry socket’ condition after an extraction. Dry socket can be very painful and usually occurs 3-5 days after the extraction.

Please notify your dentist if you think this has occurred, as you will need the extraction area cleaned and dressed.

As the socket heals, it will take many months for your gum to remodel and smooth out. During this time, you may experience hard bony substances being extruded from the gums. It is unlikely to be a fragment of the tooth that has been left behind unless your dentist has advised you of the possibility. Please get in touch with your dentist if you have any concerns.

When to Call us (07 3343 4869)

It’s normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a tooth extraction, but call us if you have:

  • Heavy or increased bleeding
  • Pain or swelling that increases or continues beyond two or three days
  • A bad taste or odour in your mouth
  • A reaction to the medication