Tooth Extractions

A tooth may be extracted for a number of reasons. Today’s modern methods allow the patient to remain comfortable during the procedure. Dr. Emery will numb the area to lessen any discomfort. The administration of nitrous oxide can also contribute to an analgesic effect. After the extraction, the staff at the Smile Station Dental will advise you of what post extraction regimen to follow. Don’t worry about a little pink in your saliva; in most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal. Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing. It is usually best not to smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw for 24 hours following the extraction. These activities could dislodge the clot and delay healing. For the next few days, rinse your mouth gently after eating. For pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual, but don’t clean the teeth next to the tooth socket.

When having an extraction, today’s modern procedures and follow-up care, as recommended by Dr. Emery and the staff at the Smile Station Dental, are there to provide you, the patient, great benefit and comfort.


Care of the mouth following a surgical procedure is essential in the healing process. There is a certain amount of swelling, discoloration, discomfort and bleeding which can be expected.

  1. DO NOT RINSE YOUR MOUTH TODAY. Tomorrow, rinse your mouth gently every 3 to 4 hours (especially after meals) using 1/4 teaspoon of salt added to a glass of warm water. Continue the rinses for several days.
  3. Bleeding: Some bleeding and oozing is to be expected for several hours. Avoid spitting and use of a straw as they may provoke oozing. Keep firm pressure on the gauze pad for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, change gauze and remain biting for an additional 30 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop or starts again place a damp tea bag over the area and bite on it with a firm, steady pressure for one hour.
    **It is recommended that you keep your head elevated on two or three pillows while you rest. This should be done even if the bleeding has stopped.**
  4. Swelling: Some degree of swelling is normal and can be minimized with the use of ice or cold packs applied to the face at the extraction site for 20 minutes and then removed for 20 minutes. This should be done for the next 24 hours following surgery. Maximum swelling will occur about the second or third post-operative day and then slowly recede. Heat (hot water bottle or heating pad) can be applied 48 hours after surgery to reduce tightness (20 minutes on and 20 minutes off).
  5. Discomfort: For mild to average pain use the recommended dosage of an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol). If a pain medication is prescribed, use it as directed. The prescription should be filled promptly and taken exactly as directed before the local anesthesia wears off. Do not take pain medication on an empty stomach as it may cause nausea. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it is important to finish all of the medication. (NOTE: Antibiotics may decrease the effectiveness of birth control medications. Additional methods of birth control should be used while on antibiotics.)
  6. Food: A light diet is advisable during the first 24 hours. Until local anesthesia (numbness) wears off, be careful when chewing to prevent biting the numb area. Drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink any alcohol, soda, or use a straw for the first 24 hours. This may interfere with clot formation and slow the healing process.
  7. Brushing: The remaining teeth should be brushed 3 times daily. Do not use a mouthwash the day of surgery. Floss once a day.
  8. Bony Edges: Small sharp bone fragments may work up through the gums during healing. If annoying, return to the office for their simple removal.
  9. The proper care following oral surgical procedures will hasten recovery and prevent complications. If any unusual symptoms occur, contact Dr. Emery at 314-821-7100.

Dry Socket

Dry socket (alveolar osteitis) is a condition that sometimes occurs after a tooth is extracted. When the socket is slow to heal, the condition can be very painful for three to five days or so.

Dr. Emery’s treatment may include cleaning the site and placing a medicated dressing in the socket, which helps provide relief of pain. He may change the dressing daily until the pain diminishes and the socket begins to heal. He may also recommend a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or prescribe other pain relievers.

Cigarette smoking or other tobacco use can delay healing and should be avoided.