Aftercare Instructions

Tooth extractions

Controlling Bleeding After a Tooth Extraction

It's very important that a blood clot forms after a tooth extraction to control the bleeding and start the healing process. To accomplish this you will need to bite on a gauze pad following your appointment.

You will have to replace this gauze pad every 30 minutes until the bleeding has subsided.

Once this blood clot has formed, we recommend that you not do anything to disturb or dislodge the clot, because this delay the healing process and make it more painful.

To preserve the blood clot, DO NOT do the following for 48 hours:

  • Suck on straws
  • Smoke
  • Drink alcohol
  • Brush teeth

Since blowing your nose or sneezing violently can also damage the blood clot, it's important to have medications on hand for allergies or upper respiratory infections if you are dealing with those symptoms.

It's also important to limit vigorous exercise for 24 hours following extraction because it will raise your blood pressure and increase bleeding from the extraction site. The blood often mixes with your saliva and gives the impression that you are bleeding more than you actually are, so don't be alarmed.

Try not to swallow the mixture of blood and saliva as it might upset your stomach. Use a paper towel or washrag to wipe your tongue.

Minimizing Swelling After a Tooth Extraction

The best way to minimize swelling in your mouth is to apply an ice pack, following a schedule of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first six hours after the extraction. You can also take pain medication as prescribed by your dentist. Swelling typically only lasts for 48 hours or less.

To aid the healing process, you should rinse your mouth with a warm salt water solution -- one teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water. You should do this two to three times a day for a week and not until after 24 hours have passed from the procedure.

Reducing Pain After a Tooth Extraction

Discomfort and slight pain is normal after a tooth extraction. Generally an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Ibuprofen works well to reduce the pain. We might also give you a prescription for a stronger pain reliever if necessary.

You should NOT take your pain medication on an empty stomach to avoid nausea and always use as directed. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to use them for the prescribed length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are no longer present.

Eating and Drinking After Tooth Extraction

It's important to drink lots of fluid on the day of, and the day following your tooth extraction. You should be eating nutritious soft foods such as soup and yogurt on the day of the extraction and the day following. You may resume eating normal foods once you feel comfortable. Do not drink alcohol or carbonated beverages for a few days after your appointment.

Oral Hygiene Following Tooth Extraction

Oral hygiene is important, not only for the healing of your mouth, but for your overall health. Once 24 hours have passed, you should resume your normal dental routine that includes brushing and flossing at least once per day.

After a few days you will be able to resume normal activities. The gap where your tooth once was will feel weird at first, but as the gum tissues grow it will feel normal again.

If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling (past two or three days), or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately at (405) 708-6644.

After Composite (White) Fillings

It's normal for your lips and tongue to be numb for several hours after the appointment from the anesthetic. Try to avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the sensitivity in your mouth returns to normal. It's very easy to bite your cheek or burn your tongue when your mouth is numb.

You may experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity immediately following your appointment, which is completely normal. Also, your injection sites might be a little sore. One ibuprofen tablet every three to four hours generally works well to alleviate the tenderness. If pressure sensitivity continues after a few days or if the sensitivity to cold or hot increases, please contact our office.

You will be able to chew with your composite fillings as soon as the anesthetic completely wears off, because they are fully set when you leave the office.

If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at (405) 708-6644.

After Cosmetic Reconstruction

Keep in mind that it takes time to adjust to the feeling of your new bite. When your bite is altered or the position of your teeth is changed, it takes several days for your brain to recognize the new position of your teeth and shape as normal.

If the sensation of high spots or problems with your bite continue after several days, call our office so we can schedule an adjustment appointment. It's also normal to experience some hot and cold sensitivity at first.

Care and Healing

Your teeth will require some time to properly heal after tooth structure has been removed and you will experience extra sensitivity in the meantime. Your gums might also be sore for a few days following the procedure.

Warm salt water rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) three times a day will reduce pain and swelling and aid in the healing process. A mild pain medication (Ibuprofen every three to four hours) will also ease your discomfort.

Your speech might be affected for a few days and this is nothing to worry about. You'll find that you quickly adapt and begin speaking normally in a short period of time. Another reaction to be aware of, that is completely normal and fine, is that your brain might react to the new size and shape of your teeth by increasing saliva flow. This usually goes away within a week or so.

Daily brushing and flossing is required for your new dental work and removing plaque daily is critical to the long-term success of your new teeth, as are regular cleaning appointments.

Any food that can crack, chip or damage a natural tooth can do the same to your new teeth. Try to avoid hard foods (or objects) such as beer nuts, peanut brittle, ice, fingernails, or pencils, and sticky candies. Smoking will stain your new teeth just like it stains natural teeth. The same applies with coffee, red wine, tea, and berries.

If you play sports, let us know and we can make a custom mouth guard for you. If you grind your teeth at night, wear the night guard we have custom-fitted for you. Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile takes time but it's well worth it in the end.