Tooth extraction aftercare: The first 24 hours.
Once your tooth extraction has been completed, your dentist will provide you with aftercare instructions. You'll need two sets of directions.
- One will cover things to do (and not to do) during the first 24 hours after your extraction. (The subject of this page.)
- The other will be aftercare instructions for the days that follow. (Use the link for more information about this topic.)
Related page: Extraction Healing timeline.)
Aftercare during the first 24 hours following an extraction.
They will also need to list post-extraction do's-and-don'ts for issues such as: 1) Smoking. 2) What types of physical activities are appropriate. 3) Eating and drinking. 4) Cleaning your teeth. 5) If indicated, the use of antibiotics.
Remember, the care you take (or don't take) during this first 24 hour period will set the stage for the healing process to come.
Make sure you follow directions that are right for you.
Any dentist's instructions for aftercare during the first 24 hours following an extraction will include the topics found on this page. However, before following our directions, you should discuss them with your dentist and confirm that they are appropriate for you.
Your dentist may find reason to revise, add to, or delete from these generalized instructions. And remember, in all cases, if you have a concern or feel you have developed a complication, you should contact your dentist and seek their advice.
A) Stopping post-tooth extraction bleeding.
Some amount of bleeding may occur for some time after your tooth has been extracted.
Controlling bleeding with gauze.
In most cases this bleeding can be effectively controlled and ultimately stopped by placing a piece of clean moist gauze over the empty tooth socket, and then biting firmly on this gauze for 45 minutes to an hour.
Make sure that the gauze is positioned so when you bite down it applies pressure directly onto the extraction site. (If you bite down and your teeth come together fully, you may not be placing much pressure on the gauze.)
Applying pressure over an extended period is the key.
It is both firm pressure and maintaining this pressure over a prolonged period of time (45 minutes or so) that are important factors when this technique is used.
Don't keep changing the gauze, and don't chew on it. Just put it in and then clamp down on it for 45 minutes to an hour.
Controlling bleeding with a tea bag.
If the bleeding seems to persist, a slightly moistened tea bag can be more effective than gauze.
One of the components of tea (black tea, the regular stuff you would use to make iced tea) is tannic acid. Tannic acid aids with the formation of blood clots, thus making this method a very effective technique. (Same instructions as above, just substitute the tea bag for the gauze.)
Repeat as needed.
If some bleeding still persists after the completion of a 45 minute application, then repeat these instructions. After each subsequent application, the amount of bleeding that remains should be noticeably less. If heavy bleeding persists, then contact your dentist.