Lancaster Dental

Healthy Smiles for the Whole Family

Tooth Extraction Care

Occasionally, a tooth may become so damaged from injury, illness, infection, or decay that extraction is necessary. As part of the alignment process, adult teeth may also be overcrowded and must be removed. At Lancaster, our experienced dentists are qualified to safely pull teeth and deliver the aftercare you need to recover and regain health, function, and a beautiful smile. You should follow all tooth extraction care instructions carefully to avoid complications that could compromise your recovery.


Whenever you remove an adult tooth, it’s natural for the socket to bleed, even if stitches are in place. Our dental support staff will provide you with gauze pads and instruct you to gently place them onto the socket to absorb the drainage, staunch any bleeding, and promote clotting.

Typically, you’ll want to leave the gauze in place for 3-4 hours following your tooth extraction, changing it out as necessary. Patients should avoid rinsing and smoking. Patients should drink through a straw for 24 hours to promote clotting.

Following your extraction, you will be prescribed painkillers to ease any discomfort. Many patients do not require more than acetaminophen, while other patients may require stronger medication to help with pain and swelling. Apply ice to the side of your face in ten-minute intervals.

Finally, make sure to get plenty of rest. Plan to rest for at least 24 hours after extraction and take it easy for a couple of days thereafter. Prop your head up on pillows when resting to minimize bleeding.

After the First Day

After the initial 24-hour healing period, you can gradually resume normal activities. You can gently rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution (8 oz. Warm water, ½ tsp. Salt) and brush and floss slowly and carefully to avoid the open socket.

You’ll want to stick to soft foods for a few days, such as Jell-O, soup, pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and so on. As your socket heals, you can resume a normal diet, but avoid hard foods that might injure your socket and impede healing, at least until you are healed.

The recovery period is typically just a few days, although it could take one to two weeks to fully heal from extraction. If you have unusual symptoms that could be a sign of infection or something more serious, you should contact our office immediately. Symptoms could include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Redness and swelling
  • Excessive discharge
  • Cough, trouble breathing, or chest pain


  • Rest quietly with your head elevated for the remainder of the day.
  • Always get up slowly from a reclined position to prevent dizziness
  • Limit physical activity for the first 24 hours and avoid excessive exertion for the first 72 hours.
  • Healing will occur much faster with rest!

Swelling and Bruising:

  • Some swelling often occurs, and this is normal in the healing process.
  • However, if swelling seems excessive and is accompanied by fever or severe pain, please call immediately.
  • Use an ice pack for the first day following surgery. It will contribute to your comfort and minimize swelling. Place an ice pack on your face over the surgical area; 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
  • Moist heat may be applied the day following surgery for added comfort.


  • You should take your pain medication before the numbness wears off.
  • If an antibiotic was prescribed, take it as directed until it is ALL GONE. It is recommended to take an over-the-counter probiotic when taking antibiotics.
  • Some pain medications may cause lightheadedness. Lying down will help with this.
  • Some medications may cause an upset stomach. Taking these with food will lessen this side effect.


  • Red saliva is expected for the first 24 hours. However, extensive bleeding should not occur. If such bleeding should occur, apply firm pressure with a moist gauze or moist tea bag to the area for 20 minutes. If the bleeding does not subside, please call.

Mouth Care:

  • AVOID RINSING, SPITTING, OR SUCKING THROUGH A STRAW for three days after surgery. Blood is clotting, and this will disturb the healing process.
  • You may begin gentle rinsing three days after surgery, but do not rinse vigorously for seven days.
  • Do not rinse with an over-the-counter mouthwash for seven days.
  • You may begin to brush the NON-SURGICAL areas the day of surgery.


  • Eat softer foods for the first week like pasta, eggs, fish, yogurt, soup, pudding, and soft-cooked vegetables.
  • For the first few days avoid eating extremes like very hot, very cold, or acidic/spicy foods.
  • Do not eat hard crunchy foods such as popcorn, small seeds (like strawberries, sesame, and poppy), nuts, or chips for the first week after surgery.
  • Maintain a balanced diet.


  • We strongly advise NOT SMOKING after surgery. Smoking delays the healing increases discomfort and may encourage bleeding and infection at the surgical site.