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After a tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form in order to stop the bleeding and allow the healing process to begin. To encourage the blood clot to form, you will be asked to bite on a gauze pad for 45 to 60 minutes after extraction. If bleeding or oozing continues, replace the gauze pad and bite firmly for another thirty minutes. You may have to do this several times.

It is extremely important to protect the newly formed blood clot for the next 24 hours. Make sure to avoid the following activities that can dislodge the clot and slow healing:

  • Smoking
  • Sucking through a straw
  • Rinsing your mouth vigorously
  • Cleaning the teeth next to the extraction site

Limiting yourself to calm activities for the first 24 hours keeps your blood pressure lower, reduces bleeding and helps the healing process.

After the tooth is extracted you may experience some pain and swelling. You can use an ice bag to keep this to a minimum. The swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.

Use pain medication only as directed by Dr. McMurdo and you may call our office if it doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluid and eat only soft nutritious foods on the day of the extraction. Don’t use alcoholic beverages and avoid hot and spicy foods. You can begin eating normally the next day or so as soon as it is comfortable.

Gently rinse your mouth with saltwater three times a day beginning the day after the extraction (a half a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit). Also, rinse gently after meals, it helps keep food out of the extraction site. It is very important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours; this should include brushing your teeth and tongue and flossing at least once a day. This speeds healing and helps keep your breath and mouth fresh.

Call us right away if you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling after two or three days, or a reaction to the medication. After a few days you will be fine and can resume your normal activities.

If you do not have an adverse reaction to Aspirin, an alternative painkiller is Advil. Take 2 Advil every 4 hours for 1-2 days or as needed. If you need stronger pain relief then combine Advil and Tylenol extra strength by taking 2 Advil and 2 Tylenol every 4 hours as needed. We strongly advise using vitamin C; one gram every 4 hours for a total of 4 grams per day for the first week after an extraction.

Call Dr. McMurdo at this emergency number (780) 814-8232 if you are having difficulties.