Taking Care Of Your Extraction Sites


           When you have a tooth or teeth extracted, please remember that you have undergone a minor surgical procedure that calls for you to take certain specific steps thereafter so that your recovery period will proceed smoothly. Failure to do so can lead to needless discomfort, delayed healing and increased anxiety.



  1. DO bite down on the moist gauze placed over your extraction site(s) after the procedure with firm, constant pressure for AT LEAST half an hour after you leave our office. Nothing controls bleeding more efficiently than physical pressure. We will give you extra gauze to take home with you when you leave. If you disturb your extraction site later (by accidentally chewing on coarse food for example), you can moisten and bite down on it as before to suppress any subsequent bleeding. If you encounter persistent bleeding, first apply an ice pack to your face (not inside your mouth) at the location of the extraction(s) while you are biting on gauze and if this is not fully effective apply a tea bag compress directly to the extraction site(s). Natural substances found in tea are known to stem bleeding effectively.
  2. DON'T do any of the following for AT LEAST 24 hours after the surgery; spit out, rinse out, drink with a straw (causing suction), smoke anything, chew tobacco nor snuff, take anything with aspirin (a blood thinner) in it, exert yourself physically (raising your blood pressure), drink anything hot, drink anything carbonated (fizzy) or have anything coarse to eat. Doing any of these things can cause the blood clot that will form in the socket where the root(s) of your extracted tooth (teeth) was to be lost. This clot is necessary for proper healing and without it you will experience a condition known as "dry socket" that is extremely uncomfortable and will interfere with normal healing.
  3. DO stay on a soft diet for AT LEAST two days after any extractions have been performed. This will not only preserve the blood clots essential for reliable healing as previously mentioned, but also make you more comfortable during the recuperative process. Soup, yogurt, pasta and oatmeal as well as commercially available dietary supplements such as Sustacal and Ensure will provide you with the needed nutrients and calories for satisfactory healing.
  4. DON'T miss any follow-up visits that may be scheduled for you after the surgery.  If Dr. McArdle needs to see you at a subsequent appointment for the removal of stitches or any other post-extraction care, make sure you keep that appointment. Even if you lose it beforehand, the fact that a stitch was placed at all indicates that you should be seen afterward so that your progress can be evaluated.
  5. DO take any medication ordered for you by Dr. McArdle exactly as prescribed. We will always give you an anti-inflammatory medication prior to any extraction and Dr. McArdle uses a longer lasting type of Novocain in most cases (except where your medical history prohibits it) that, in combination, helps reduce any discomfort or swelling you may experience after the surgery. Be careful not to bite your tongue, lips and cheeks while you are numb. Research has shown that if you take some acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) just as you feel the Novocain beginning to wear off or on retiring for the night (whichever comes first), this results in pain relief increased to the level of a narcotic's potency without undesirable side effects such as nausea or impaired judgment. There are some situations, as in the case of a difficult extraction, where prescription medication may be the most appropriate for you to prevent infection or to curb exceptional discomfort.
  6. DON'T be unduly alarmed about any unpleasant taste or strong odor that you may notice after an extraction. These are natural consequences of the procedure and will subside in a day or two. If either or both persist for more than a few days or become more perceptible, this may be a sign of infection and should be brought to Dr. McArdle's attention. Any minimal oozing of fluids tinged with blood from the extraction site that may occur after you have applied the required biting pressure is the most likely cause of any unpleasant taste and also no cause for alarm unless it appears to be mainly blood and persists for several hours. If this condition does not respond to ice pack or tea bag compresses as previously described, call Dr. McArdle.
  7. DO proceed with your brushing and flossing as normal, but stay away from the extraction site(s) for a few days so as not to disturb clot formation and to avoid any tenderness. This will help eliminate the aforementioned unpleasant taste during the period before rinsing is allowed. Do not do any rinsing (such as with a fluoride or antimicrobial rinse) or water picking as you may have previously been advised to for 24 hours after the surgery as this can hinder clot development as well. Tongue cleaning does not hamper extraction site healing in any way.
  8. DON"T deviate from these instructions in the least unless specifically told to do so by Dr. McArdle.  This is the best way to get through the recovery phase of your extractions as comfortably and with as few complications as possible.  If these steps are followed, your return to normal after oral surgery will proceed more quickly and smoothly.



Infection can cause swelling after a tooth has been extracted.





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Dr. Barry F. McArdle, D.M.D. ~ 118 Maplewood Avenue, The Captain Moses House, Suite B-7, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Questions or Request an Appointment: Contact Us     Phone: 603-430-1010     Email: drmcardle@mcardledmd.com     Website: http://mcardledmd.com