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What to Do After the Extraction of a Tooth

Extraction wounds usually heal without complication if you take simple precautions. A blood clot must form in the tooth socket for the area to heal. Therefore it is important to avoid activities which would disturb the clot.

For the rest of the day:

Rinsing The Mouth

After the first day rinse very gently after meals with warm salt water (1 ½ teaspoons salt in a glass of warm water). This will help keep food particles out of the surgery site.

It is important to clean your teeth. Therefore continue to brush and floss at least once a day everywhere except the teeth around the extraction site. This will help the wound to heal and resist infection. It will also eliminate the bad breath and taste that is common after extractions. Brushing the tongue will help remove blood and freshen your mouth.

What to Eat

Avoid alcoholic beverages and hot liquids for the first day. Other than this, eat nutritious foods as often as you can to help the healing process. Drink lots of liquids and eat soft foods for a day. After a day you may take solid foods as soon as you can chew comfortably. Protein foods (such as meat or eggs), and fruit juices (with their vitamin C) are especially good.


The extraction wound may bleed a little for a couple of hours. Even a day later, the area may ooze a bit. To help control bleeding, follow this procedure:

What to Do for Swelling or Pain

Some swelling may occur. Don’t be concerned about it. You may also be uncomfortable for a while after the anesthetic wears off. You can prevent both the swelling and pain by applying cold to the affected side of the face immediately after an extraction. Use an ice bag, or cold, moist cloth for about 30 minutes of every hour for several hours after the extraction. Your dentist may provide a plastic bag of ice to use on your way home from the office.

If you have been given a prescription it would be well to take one or two of the pills before the anesthetic wears off. (2 hours)

Remember, you have just had an operation. Be kind to yourself.