Dos and Don’ts of Extraction Recovery

Recovering from a tooth extraction can be a smooth process if you follow the right steps. There are some important dos and don’ts to help you heal quickly and avoid complications. Recovering from a tooth extraction involves following some simple dos and don’ts to ensure proper healing. Rest, keep the area clean, eat soft foods, and avoid activities that could disrupt the healing process. By taking care of yourself and following your dentist’s advice, you can recover quickly and avoid complications.


Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how to take care of the extraction site. Make sure to follow these directions closely to ensure proper healing. After a tooth extraction, it’s important to rest and avoid strenuous activities for at least 24 hours. Physical exertion can increase blood flow and lead to bleeding at the extraction site.

Use an ice pack on the outside of your cheek near the extraction site. Apply it for 15-20 minutes at a time, with breaks in between, for the first 24-48 hours. This can help reduce swelling and numb the area, easing discomfort. If your dentist prescribed pain medication, take it as directed. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can also help manage pain and reduce inflammation.

When resting or sleeping, keep your head elevated with pillows. This can help reduce swelling and prevent bleeding. Brush your teeth carefully, avoiding the extraction site. After 24 hours, you can gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to keep the area clean. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water and swish gently.

Stick to soft foods like yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, and soups. Chew away from the extraction site and avoid hot, spicy, or crunchy foods that can irritate the area. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This helps with the healing process. Sip slowly and avoid using straws, as the suction can dislodge the blood clot.


To begin, avoid spitting forcefully. This can dislodge the blood clot forming in the extraction site. Instead, let saliva and any excess liquid gently fall out of your mouth. Furthermore, using straws creates suction in your mouth, which can dislodge the blood clot and lead to dry socket, a painful condition. Avoid straws for at least a week after the extraction. Keep your fingers and tongue away from the extraction site. Touching it can introduce bacteria and cause infection or delay healing.

Foods like chips, nuts, and chewy candies can get stuck in the extraction site or cause injury. Stick to soft foods until your dentist says it’s okay to resume a normal diet. Smoking can delay healing and increase the risk of complications, such as dry socket and infection. It’s best to avoid smoking for at least a week after your extraction. Alcohol can also interfere with the healing process and interact negatively with any pain medications you’re taking. Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours after the extraction.

If your dentist schedules a follow-up appointment, make sure to attend. This allows the dentist to check on your healing progress and address any issues. Strenuous activities can increase blood pressure and lead to bleeding at the extraction site. Avoid heavy lifting, vigorous exercise, and sports for a few days.

Signs to Watch For

While most tooth extractions heal without problems, it’s important to watch for signs of complications:

  • Severe Pain: Some discomfort is normal, but severe pain that doesn’t improve can be a sign of dry socket or infection.
  • Excessive Bleeding: A small amount of bleeding is normal, but if bleeding continues or is heavy, contact your dentist.
  • Swelling: Some swelling is expected, but if it doesn’t start to go down after a few days or if you have a lot of swelling, call your dentist.
  • Fever: A fever can be a sign of infection. If you develop a fever, contact your dentist right away.