Post-operative instructions:

Home care instructions following extractions with local anesthetic

NOTE: Your doctor will provide you with a sheet of dosage information if necessary.


You can expect a certain amount of bleeding following an extraction. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Bite on the gauze in your mouth with firm continuous pressure for at least 30 minutes after leaving the office. Repeat twice if bleeding continues. Sit upright and avoid spitting or rinsing. Remove the gauze when there is a residual component of one-quarter red and the rest pink, which is a normal small amount of seepage and may continue for 24 hours. Dissolvable sutures may be placed in the surgical site to minimize post-operative bleeding and help with healing. Sometimes they become loose or dislodged; this is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture and discard it.


Reduce your activities today to avoid exertion that could reinitiate the bleeding or induce swelling. Do not smoke cigarettes for the first 4–5 days following surgery to minimize the chance of secondary infection or the dislodging of the clot.


Please adhere to a softer diet today. Do not drink through a straw FOR 4 DAYS. Resume your normal diet as soon as possible on the second or third day following surgery. Please remember to take all medications with food and plenty of fluids.


The swelling that is normally expected is usually proportional to the surgery involved. To minimize swelling, apply ice packs over the affected areas as soon as possible for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off the day of surgery only. Ice is not effective after the first day.


Some discomfort or pain is normal and should be relieved by the prescription medication. For many routine procedures, an anti-inflammatory medication (such as Advil® or Motrin®) can be used the day of the procedure or over a period of 3–4 days taken at breakfast, lunch, and before turning in at night. If you receive a prescription anti-inflammatory, please DO NOT utilize an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory until the prescription anti-inflammatory is finished.


For many lower jaw procedures, our office uses a long-acting anesthetic. Your chin and tongue may be numb for 12–36 hours following surgery. For upper jaw procedures, a shorter-acting anesthetic will be used lasting 2–4 hours following surgery.


Please have any prescriptions filled immediately. The antibiotics, if prescribed, need to be taken until completely gone. (Please note that antibiotics decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.) Take all medications with a minimum glass of water and soft foods. If any side effects or nausea occur, discontinue the medications and call the office. Please don't combine medications at the same time but rather spread apart by at least 1–2 hours.


Do not rinse your mouth the day of surgery. The day after surgery, use warm saltwater rinses (1/4 teaspoon salt in 8 oz. of warm water) twice per day for 3–4 days. Resume brushing your teeth the second day after surgery, avoiding the surgical site.