Extractions FAQ

Click on a question to read the answer.


What is a dry socket?

What can I expect after oral surgery?

How do I care for my teeth after an extraction?

What is a dry socket?

A dry socket occurs when part of the blood clot either dissolves or falls out of the surgical site. This is not a serious complication, but is often a painful one. A dry socket is often characterized by increasing pain levels several days after the extraction. If this is the case, please contact our office as some medication may need to be placed into the site to improve comfort as the healing progresses.

Please don’t hesitate to call us a 306-463-4661 if you have any questions or concerns.

What can I expect after oral surgery?


Normal oozing may occur for up to 24 hours following surgery. This can be controlled by biting and applying pressure on several gauze pads or a tea bag placed over the tooth socket. Maintain pressure on the socket for 60 minutes after surgery and then replace gauze pads if necessary for further 60 minute intervals if necessary. Smoking, drinking with a straw, and physical activity may cause bleeding — avoid them for 24 hours after surgery.  If bleeding becomes brisk and fills your mouth quickly, contact our office.


Swelling and sometimes bruising is common after surgery, normally peaking 48 hours after surgery and usually lasting 4-6 days. To keep this to a minimum, apply ice packs, on and off in 15 minute intervals, for the first 12 hours after your surgery. Keeping your head elevated also helps. The swelling should dissipate within 7-10 days; however, applying warm compresses starting the second day should expedite its resolution.


Some discomfort is normal after surgery – the first six to eight hours immediately following the procedure tend to be the worst. The pain can be controlled, but not eliminated, by taking the prescribed pain medication. Never take pain medication on an empty stomach, and follow the instructions given. If itching or a rash develops, stop taking all medications and contact your dentist. If the pain becomes worse after the fourth day, arrange for an appointment.

Muscle Soreness

Difficulty in opening the jaws and muscle stiffness are common after some extractions, particularly wisdom teeth. This is normal and will improve in 5- 10 days. Chewing gum at intervals and applying moist heat 48 hours after the procedure will relieve muscle soreness.

Mouth Care

Brush and floss as usual, but avoid the surgical site for the rest of the day.

Beginning the following day, rinse with salt water (one teaspoon of salt mixed with warm water) for 30-second intervals at least five times a day; continue for a week.

Two days following surgery, begin lightly brushing the surgical area. Be sure to run your toothbrush under hot water to soften the bristles; do not use toothpaste.

Smoking is not advised postoperatively for a minimum of one week. Nicotine in any form interferes with the healing process and increases the incidences of infection, dry socket and other complications.


It is important to maintain a good nutritional diet after your surgery. Eat lukewarm, soft foods the day of the surgery. Remember to drink as many fluids as possible over the next three days.


If swelling increases four days after the procedure, accompanied by a fever or by a foul taste, contact our office at (306) 463-4661.

How do I care for my teeth after an extraction?

Immediately following surgery, bite on gauze as this will keep pressure on the extraction site and help clot the bleeding.

Keep biting on the gauze for 60 minutes and then change it with fresh gauze. Be sure to moisten the gauze before you bite on it as this will prevent the gauze from sticking to the extraction site which could cause bleeding to restart. Repeat these steps 2 to 3 times, or until the gauze is showing just slight pinkness when it is taken out.

If the bleeding does not appear to be stopping, try biting on a damp tea bag (do not use loose tea).

If the bleeding still does not stop, please call the office (306-463-4661) and we will advise you what to do next.

48 Hours After An Extraction:
  • No smoking
  • No alcoholic beverages
  • No spitting
  • No drinking through a straw
  • Rinse with warm salt water (1 tsp salt to 1 cup warm water)
  • Gently brush surgical area
  • If you have discomfort, take whatever over-the-counter pain medication you would normally take for a headache; follow directions on the bottle.

Additional Guidelines:
  • Only consume cold or lukewarm fluids during the first 4-6 hours.
  • Stick to soft foods for the next few days.
  • If you notice some swelling, use an ice pack. Alternate between 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off for the first 4 to 6 hours.

If you have any other questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call Lifetime Dental at 306-463-4661.