Patient Care After a Tooth Extraction in San Francisco


The worst is over: you’ve had a tooth extraction, and the procedure went exactly as expected. Now you have to take care of yourself for a few days, so your jaw can heal properly. Bay Area Surgical Arts in San Francisco has some tips.

There is going to be some specific advice for you, depending on the type of surgery you had. Be sure to follow them to the letter to avoid any complications.

Some general rules apply:

  • Rest. Even if you’re feeling good, get plenty of rest. Don’t do anything strenuous for at least twenty-four hours. Keep your head in an upright position on a pillow.
  • Take Care of the Wound. Let the clot form on the extraction site. This covers it and lets it heal. You were probably given a piece of gauze to bite right after the extraction; it should stay in place for at least an hour. It puts pressure on the site and helps the bleeding stop. Do not chew on it.
  • Ice Packs. Apply an ice pack to the side of your face the surgery was done. This helps to keep the swelling down. There may not be any swelling with a simple extraction, but there usually is with more involved procedures. It may continue for up to three days.
  • Avoid Sucking. Do not use a straw to drink, and do not smoke. In addition to the sucking action, smoke also has chemicals that can affect the clot.
  • Avoid Solid Food. This is especially true while there is still numbness. Once it wears off, limit yourself to soft or liquid foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and so on.
  • Rinse. Gently rinse your mouth with a warm saline rinse to clean the extraction area. However, wait at least twelve hours after procedure before rinsing.
  • Take Your Medicine. If you’re prescribed any post-operative medication, take it. Do not, however, take any aspirin. It acts as a blood thinner, and will delay the clot formation.
  • Let It Heal. It may be tempting, but don’t poke at the extraction area. It could delay healing, and also provoke bleeding.

In addition to tooth extractions, Bay Area Surgical Arts in San Francisco treats facial and dental trauma, provides jaw surgery, performs dental implants, and other services. We take patients from throughout the Bay Area.