How to take care of your teeth and gums after an extraction

There may be many reasons why you need a tooth extraction. There could be complications with your wisdom teeth, your tooth could be too decayed or too damaged to save with a crown or a root canal or perhaps you have experienced dental trauma. In each case, the extraction may be needed to preserve your dental health.

After having a tooth extracted you will need to take good care of your mouth to help the recovery process. You will receive customized advice from the expert oral and maxillofacial surgeons at San Jose Oral Surgery before and after surgery. However here you can see six general tips to aid a speedy recovery.

6 Tips for a speedy recovery

Start off on the right foot

Good preparation before the extraction is important for a smooth recovery after. Your mouth is far healthier when you avoid cigarettes and tobacco products but this is especially important in the days prior to the procedure. It is also advisable not to have an alcoholic drink at least 24 hours before treatment. You should inform your surgeon about any medication that you are taking regularly, including prescription drugs, over the counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements. It may be necessary to stop taking some of these before your surgery.


It is very important to rest to help you recover. Even after you have woken from your surgery, some effects of the sedatives will stay with you for a few hours. It’s important that you don’t schedule to do anything during this time especially drive or handle heavy machinery. Even after the effects have worn off, it’s important to rest until you have healed. Most tissue repair is done by the body while you are sleeping.

Manage your pain

You will normally receive a short prescription for pain medicine from your surgeon. While this will help you through your first few days you may need to use other methods to control the pain afterward. The pain will be less and can usually be managed by over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or an ice pack. If for some reason your pain increases or you notice signs of infection such as very red and swollen gum then call San Jose Oral Surgery for a follow-up appointment.

Clean your teeth carefully

For the first day after your extraction, you should not brush or floss your teeth. If you want to rinse your mouth after eating then you need to be very careful with the rinsing and sucking actions. If you use too much force, you could dislodge a clot, leading to dry socket, a complication that causes a lot of pain.

You can usually resume a limited routine of brushing and flossing the day after your surgery. However, avoid the area of extraction. Instead, you can clean with a saltwater rinse. Normal brushing and flossing should only be resumed once the gums have fully healed.

Eat well

Not only should you eat nutritious foods but you should also avoid foods that are hot, crispy or crunchy. The heat could irritate your gums and if the food is crispy then pieces can dislodge in the area of the extraction. Soft cold foods could include yogurt, smoothies, applesauce or mashed potatoes.

Don’t smoke or drink alcohol

Just as you should avoid alcohol and tobacco products before extraction, you should also avoid them after. They can disrupt the body’s ability to heal 

Follow the surgeon’s instructions

These tips make up general guidelines, however, your surgeon will want to give you more specific instructions to care for your oral health after an extraction. The team at San Jose Oral Surgery has many years of experience performing tooth extractions and can give you the advice that you need to make a speedy recovery.

If you need a tooth extraction, you can rely on the expert care before, during, and after your surgery from our team of oral and maxillofacial surgeons at San Jose Oral Surgery. Call or make an appointment online today.

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