When you’ve had a tooth extracted, you need to take care of your mouth. Doing certain things may help you feel better and heal faster.

To help control bleeding, bite firmly on the gauze placed by your dentist. The pressure helps to form a blood clot in the tooth socket. Slight oozing of blood on the first day is normal. To lessen any pain, take prescribed medication as directed. Don’t drive while taking any pain medication as you may feel drowsy. Ask your dentist if you may take over-the-counter medication, if needed. To reduce swelling, put an ice pack on your cheek near the extraction site. You may see some bruising on your face. This is normal and will go away on its own.

Limit activities for the first 24 hours after an extraction. Rest during the day and go to bed early. When lying down, elevate your head slightly. Eat a diet of soft, healthy foods and snacks. It may be easier for you to eat soft foods soon after your extraction. Also, drink plenty of liquids. Brush your teeth gently. Avoid brushing around the extraction, and don’t use any toothpaste. Rinsing toothpaste from your mouth may dislodge the blood clot. Keep the extraction site clean. After 12 hours you may be able to gently rinse your mouth. Rinse 4 times a day with 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of water. However, rinse your mouth very gently. Otherwise the blood clot may be dislodged.

Don’t drink with a straw. Sucking on a straw may dislodge the blood clot. Don’t drink hot liquids as hot liquids may increase swelling. Limit your alcohol use; excessive use of alcohol may slow healing. Don’t smoke. Smoking may break down the blood clot, causing a painful tooth socket.

Call your dentist at Anderson Lane Dental if the pain becomes more severe the day after your extraction or the bleeding becomes hard to control. Also, let the doctor know if itching or rashes occur after you take medication. Please call our dental office in Austin, Texas with any questions; Dr. Pevow and Dr. Robbins are committed to providing the best possible care for your smile.