Tooth Extractions Post-Op Instructions

As part of normal healing a tooth extraction site forms a blood clot. The clot goes through a series of steps called organizing in the first 24 hours of healing after a tooth is extracted. If the clot is dislodged or lost during this period, the healing must start over and you can develop a dry socket. The dry socket is characterized by severe pain. Most healing is uneventful, but spitting, vigorous rinsing and smoking all place you at high risk for losing the clot and developing a dry socket. We recommend that you keep the gauze in place for 45 minutes after the extraction and then refrain from spitting, vigorous rinsing and smoking for the first 24-48 hours after a tooth is extracted. Gentle rinsing with salt water followed by letting the water run out of your mouth over the sink is fine. If you experience enough bleeding that you feel you need to spit, we recommend that you place another moistened piece of gauze or a black tea bag over the extraction site and bite for another 45 minutes.

Very rarely, a small sharp area of bone can poke through the gums. This is called a sequestrum and occurs when gums are very thin and the bone becomes sharp during the remodeling that occurs with this type of surgery. The sequestrum will usually take care of itself. It will usually heal by the gums growing back over the bone or by the small piece working its way out. Unfortunately, this can take several months and the area can be uncomfortable while it is healing. If you suspect that you have one of these areas and it is very uncomfortable, contact our office to have the sequestrum removed or recontoured.

Occasionally, we place dissolvable sutures in areas that teeth have been extracted. These sutures help hold the gums in place to promote healing. They will dissolve on their own, but if they break free and are bothering you, they can usually be removed with gentle pulling or you can contact our office to have them removed.