During a non-surgical tooth extraction, your tooth is gently loosened and then removed with forceps. The procedure is far less invasive than an extraction that requires oral surgery, but you can still expect some downtime and soreness afterwards. We’ll provide you with detailed instructions after your procedure, but what follows is a general outline of what you can expect in the hours and days following a tooth extraction.
Bleeding after a non-surgical tooth extraction is usually minor; if you experience heavy bleeding, you should call our office or, if the bleeding is severe, go to the emergency room for treatment. Immediately after your extraction, you’ll be asked to bite down on a piece of gauze to stop the bleeding. Continue to bite down on gauze, replacing as needed, until the bleeding stops.
Blood Clot Formation
The first step in your body’s healing process is the formation of a blood clot. It’s important not to do anything to dislodge the blood clot, which can cause a painful condition called dry socket. To prevent this from occurring, we’ll ask you not to spit, use a straw, or smoke for 24 hours after your tooth extraction.
Swelling and Bruising
It’s normal to have some swelling and bruising after your tooth extraction, but cold compresses can help. Wrap an ice pack with a damp towel and apply gentle pressure near the extraction site for 15 minutes at a time (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off). Keeping your head elevated and avoiding strenuous activity will also help control swelling.
We’ll provide you with advice on pain management, but for most simple tooth extractions, over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are sufficient for controlling any pain. (Don’t use aspirin, as it can cause bleeding at the extraction site.) You’re likely to experience some soreness for a few days after a non-surgical tooth extraction.
Eating and Drinking
We recommend a liquid and soft food diet for at least 24 hours after your tooth extraction. After a day has passed, you can start incorporating other foods as you’re comfortable doing so, but stay away from hard and chewy foods until your jaw is no longer sore. Avoid foods that are hot or spicy and don’t drink alcohol for 24 hours.
To prevent infection, oral hygiene is important, but you also want to take care not to irritate the extraction site or dislodge the blood clot in the socket. When you brush, do so gently and avoid the area where your tooth was extracted. After 24 hours have passed, you can begin using saltwater rinses to keep your mouth clean.
Most patients who have a simple, non-surgical tooth extraction are able to return to work or school the next day as long as they’re able to avoid strenuous activity, but sometimes a molar extraction will require an extra day or two of rest, as the wound is larger.
Ultimately, you’re the best judge of how you’re feeling and whether you need time off. If after a day, you’re still experiencing swelling and pain, listen to your body and take another day to rest.