Tooth Extraction Care

Learn what care is required for the Tooth Extraction procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.


Tooth Extraction Details

What to Expect Prior to Procedure

Your dentist will likely:

  • Do a thorough dental exam
  • Do an x-ray of the mouth-a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones


Depending on the procedure, your dentist will choose:

  • Local anesthesia-just the area that is being operated on is numbed; given as an injection
  • General anesthesia -blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the procedure

Description of the Procedure

If the tooth is impacted (buried in the gum), the dentist will remove the overlying gum tissue to expose the tooth. Using forceps, the dentist will grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth. This action will loosen the tooth and break the ligaments that hold the tooth in place. The tooth will be pulled, and a blood clot will form in the empty socket. The dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket. In some cases, the dentist will place a few stitches to close the gum edges.

Immediately After Procedure

You will need to bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad. This will reduce bleeding and permit a clot to form in the tooth socket. If rapid bleeding continues, replace with a fresh pad every 20-30 minutes. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for 3-4 hours.

How Long Will It Take?

It often takes about 20 minutes but may take longer for impacted teeth.

How Much Will It Hurt?

You will feel pain in your jaw. Your dentist may give you pain medicine.

Post-procedure Care

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to the area. Apply for 10 minutes at a time.
  • Do not dislodge the blood clot that forms in the wound. Do not spit or rinse forcefully in the first 24 hours.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Do not allow food particles to pack into the socket.
  • Do not use drinking straws in the first 24 hours.
  • Begin rinsing your mouth 24 hours after the procedure. Use a solution made of ½ teaspoon salt and 8 ounces warm water.
  • Eat a soft or liquid diet for the first 24 hours.
  • Avoid activity for the first 24 hours. For the next 1-2 days, limit your activity.
  • Continue to brush and floss other teeth. This will help prevent infection in the extraction site.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .

In the first 24 hours, expect some swelling and bleeding. The initial healing period usually takes about 1-2 weeks. New bone and gum tissue will grow into the gap.

Having a missing tooth can lead to shifting teeth, improper bite, or difficulty chewing. Your dentist may attempt to restore the area with an implant, fixed bridge, or denture.


Learn what Tooth Extraction is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Tooth Extraction
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Tooth Extraction Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Tooth Extraction Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Tooth Extraction Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Tooth Extraction
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO