Home Care Instructions for Tooth Extractions

Please keep in mind these instructions are meant for patients of record.

The after-effects of oral surgery vary per individual so not all of these instructions may apply. If you have any questions about your progress or any symptoms you are experiencing, please call our office at Huntersville Office (Lake Norman) Phone Number 704-875-8833.

Immediately After Surgery

Patients who received IV Sedation/General Anesthesia should return home from the office immediately upon discharge until all of the effects of the anesthetics have disappeared. (24 Hours)


While recovering from anesthesia and/or taking prescription pain medication DO NOT……..

  • Drive or operate any appliances or equipment that could be dangerous ex: car, power tools, stove, and lawnmower etc.
  • Swim, go near a pool or lake.
  • Make any important or legal decisions.
  • Drink any alcoholic beverages. The drugs in your body may cause an adverse reaction with alcohol.
  • Use stairs without assistance.
  • Take with other prescription pain medication.
  • Take with or while taking Sleep Aid medication.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, or concerns!

Huntersville Office (Lake Norman) Phone Number 704-875-8833 Book Online

Please keep in mind these instructions are meant for patients of record.



  • Take gauze out after ONE HOUR.  If it is not bleeding a lot (i.e. have to swallow it every minute) then leave it out, get something to light to eat (the medication may be hard on your stomach) and take pain medication (if you were prescribed an antibiotic, DO NOT take it at the same time). Oozing overnight or blood colored saliva is normal.
  • If it is bleeding significantly when you take it out in an hour, replace it with the gauze given to you (fluffed into a ball) and place it over the surgical site (not on your teeth) and bite down for another hour.
  • After another hour if it is still bleeding significantly then dampen a tea bag (any kind) and place one over the surgical site and bite down for another hour.
  • Again, oozing and blood colored saliva for 24 hours is normal. Every time you remove the gauze it dislodges a little of the clot and will cause a little bleeding so too much placement of the gauze in and out will cause it to disrupt the clot and promote bleeding.
  • If you can, keep your head elevated above chest level for 48 hours to help with swelling – prop up with some pillows at night.


  • Wrap ice in towel or head wrap—if given one at the office—and apply on sides of face for 20 minutes, leave off for 20 minutes.  Repeat during the first 24 HOURS ONLY


  • Start after the first 24 HOURS.
  • Rinse with salt water first.  Use ½ a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.  It may be easier to buy a gallon of distilled water and mix salt water all at once.  Do this 6 times a day, once after every meal and once in between.
  • If you were given a prescription for a special rinse, start using it 24 hours after surgery, twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

What Can I Eat After Tooth Extractions?

  • Follow soft foods diet for 5 to 7 days.
  • Scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.—anything you don’t have to chew.
  • Avoid foods that may become lodged in sockets like nuts and popcorn.
  • Remember DO NOT drink with a straw for 1 week after your surgery.

Click Here to View our Recommended Grocery List

Peak Pain and Swelling

  • Usually occurs 2 or 3 days after the surgical day, not counting the surgery day itself.  For example, if your surgery was on Friday, the worst day will most likely be Sunday.
  • Pain and swelling will not be gone on the 4th day, but it should be getting better.  If it feels like pain and swelling are increasing after the 4th day, please call our office.

Syringe Rinsing

  • You will notice a hole on the lower extraction sites.  THIS IS NORMAL! The holes will be present for several weeks.  If you were given a syringe, begin using it to rinse with warm salt water on the 5TH day post surgery.  Use it on the LOWER wisdom tooth sites ONLY.  We recommend using your opposite hand to retract your cheek using the “fish hook method” to open the site to be able to see and rinse the area.  You CAN’T hurt yourself by retracting your cheek too much with your finger – it is important to be able to see and clean the area effectively!  You will continue rinsing until the holes are completely gone!  This can take 3-4 weeks or more!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, or concerns!

Huntersville Office (Lake Norman) Phone Number 704-875-8833 Book Online

Please keep in mind these instructions are meant for patients of record.


  • Usually dissolve 1 to 7 days after surgery.
  • If they dissolve on the first day it is okay—they DO NOT need to be replaced.  They are like “fancy Band-Aids” and help control bleeding, not healing.  Again, they WILL NOT be replaced.

If you had Bone Grafting:

  • You may notice small particles of the graft coming out days to weeks later.  THIS IS NORMAL! Do not assume that this is food particles and try to clean it out with vigorous rinsing or Waterpik.

Contact The Office If The Following Occurs:

Contact our office if…

  • You have a fever of 100° or if pain and/or swelling increases after 48 hours
  • There is a rash, itching, or hives—stop all medications and call

Contact 911 if…

  • There is swelling of the throat or difficulty breathing
  • In the event of an emergency


  • DO NOT smoke for at least 7 days after surgery as it is detrimental to the healing process.  Two weeks of no smoking would be best for your recovery.
  • DO NOT use a Waterpik or other unauthorized devices on surgical sites.

For patients prescribed an antibiotic…

  • Take the prescription EXACTLY as directed and until ALL antibiotics are gone
  • Do not take antibiotics at the same time as the pain medication.  Taking them separately allows us to trace any reaction that might occur to the offending medication.
  • If you are currently taking oral contraceptives, you should use an alternative method of birth control for the remainder of this cycle.
  • If you develop diarrhea that lasts more than a day stop the medication and call the office.

Prescription & Prescribed Pain Medication

  • If the patient is under 18 years of age, it is recommended that a parent closely monitor their use of these medications.
  • Proper storage of these medications is encouraged in order to prevent misuse or abuse.
  • You DO NOT need to take all of the pain medication.
  • It is recommended to first try using over-the-counter pain medications if you are not allergic. These medications include one of the following: Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naproxen as directed on the bottle. If ineffective, you can then use your prescribed medication for breakthrough pain.
  • It is important that you properly dispose of these medications after the treatment course has ended.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I start brushing my teeth?

You may brush the day after surgery, taking care to avoid the surgical sites.

When should I use the rinses?

Beginning 24 hours after surgery, use the salt water rinse 6 times a day: once after each               meal and once in between.  You should continue this daily until the holes are completely               gone.  If you were given a prescription for a special rinse, begin using it 24 hours after                   surgery  as well.

How soon can I engage in strenuous activity?

We recommend avoiding strenuous activities such as exercise for 5 to 7 days after surgery.

How long will I be numb?

Loss of sensation to the chin and lip is common—especially after lower wisdom tooth                    surgeries— and usually disappears after a few days or weeks.  If your numbness does not             wear off within 24 hours after surgery, please contact our office.

Do I have to take all the pain medication?

No, you can take over-the-counter pain medication that you typically use if you don’t like              the way the prescription makes you feel, (i.e. nausea or vomiting).

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, or concerns!

Huntersville Office (Lake Norman) Phone Number 704-875-8833 Book Online

Please keep in mind these instructions are meant for patients of record.