5 million people each year get their wisdom teeth removed in addition to other types of dental extractions. There are a variety of reasons for tooth extraction, from tooth decay to a cracked tooth.

Recovery after a wisdom tooth removal or another type of dental extraction doesn’t have to be intimidating. There are certain steps you can take to help aid you during your recovery process. Be back on your feet in no time, eating your favorite foods.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the proper aftercare steps you should take when you’re recovering from a dental extraction, apicoectomy, or another type of orthognathic surgery.

Why Would I Need Dental Extractions?

There are a variety of reasons a person would need a tooth extracted besides wisdom teeth removal. These reasons include:

  • Infection
  • Decay
  • Crowding

An oral surgeon or dentist can perform your tooth extraction. It’s a relatively fast outpatient procedure. You’ll receive general, local, or intravenous anesthesia.

There are a couple of different types of extractions:

  • Simple Extraction: The tooth is above the surface and your dentist/oral surgeon numbs the area around the tooth and removes it
  • Surgical Extraction: Teeth that are below the surface, impacted, or broken are more involved and may require the gum to be cut

Your dentist or oral surgeon will speak to you about what to expect from the procedure. It varies from patient to patient, depending upon your situation.

Aftercare Procedures for After a Dental Extraction

After your procedure is done, you’ll be sent home so you can recover. Depending upon your procedure, recovery can take up to a few days. There are a few things you can do after your procedure to speed up recovery after oral surgery, reduce the chance of infection, and minimize your discomfort.

Don’t Shift or Remove the Gauze

If there’s gauze over where your tooth was extracted, leave it where it is for at least two hours unless you received different instructions. After about two hours, a clot typically forms over the wound to stop the bleeding.

Gently bite down on the gauze to reduce bleeding. Change out your gauze pads if they get soaked with blood.

Don’t Touch the Wound

Your mouth may feel different after having your tooth removed since there’s now a gap in your mouth. Resist the urge to use your tongue to feel the wound. Don’t touch it with your fingers, either.

Even a small touch can dislodge the blood clot and delay your recovery. Bacteria can also find their way into your wound, causing infections. Don’t touch your wound until it’s fully healed.

Avoid Using Mouthwash

You may have a bad taste in your mouth after your tooth extraction. Don’t use mouthwash or other products that contain alcohol. Even the act of rinsing out your mouth and spitting can open up your wound.

If the bad taste in your mouth lingers for more than two days, contact your dentist or oral surgeon for advice.

Chew Your Food Carefully

Eat soft foods, like pudding soup, applesauce, or yogurt the day after your dental extraction. You can gradually add in more solid foods as your wound heals. Avoid eating any type of food that has a chewy or hard texture, like fruits, candy, or vegetables.

Use an Ice Pack to Decrease Swelling

Place an ice pack on the outside of your cheek to reduce swelling. It can also provide relief and increase your healing time. Apply the ice pack in 10-minute increments but don’t use it if it makes you feel more uncomfortable.


You should rest for at least 24 hours after your dental extraction. Even if you have dental implants done, you should take time after to let your body heal and recover. When you’re resting and sleeping, make sure your head is elevated.

Don’t drink any fluids through a straw. It may be hard to drink out of a cup, but a straw can cause damage to your wound site and dislodge the clot.

Sip small amounts of fluids at room temperature. Hot liquids can, unfortunately, dissolve the clots that have formed over your wound. Cold drinks can potentially not feel great on your wound.

You can floss and brush your teeth like normal, but be sure to avoid your extraction site.

The Healing Stages of a Tooth Extraction

Depending on how invasive your procedure was, your healing time will vary. Below are some suggestions of how you should take care of yourself and your dental extraction after your procedure.

The First Day

Rest as much as you can after your procedure. Avoid smoking or using other types of tobacco products. Change your gauze as needed within the first few hours.

Keep your head elevated as you rest. You can also use an ice pack as needed.

Days 3 to 10

Once your clot is fully in place, use warm salt water or saline to rinse your mouth throughout the day. This helps kill bacteria that might be forming.

Brush your teeth regularly but be mindful with the teeth around the extraction site. Avoid eating crunchy foods. Continue eating soft foods but don’t use a straw to drink fluids.

If you follow these guidelines when recovering from a dental extraction, you’ll ensure you don’t run into any problems. You’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.

Are Aftercare Steps the Same for Other Procedures?

Our offices also offer same-day dental implants and dentures, depending upon what your needs are. We’ll give you more specific instructions for aftercare for your procedure. Resting and taking care of your mouth is essential after any dental procedure.

Reach Out to a Qualified Oral Surgeon

Whether you’re looking to have your wisdom teeth removed or dental extractions, Jenkins, Morrow, & Gayheart is here to help. We’re proud to deliver exceptional care to all of our patients, helping them through the healing process.

Contact our office today to book an appointment.