Statement of Acknowledgement

We acknowledge and respect the traditional custodians on whose ancestral lands we provide dental services.

We acknowledge the deep feeling of attachment and relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Country.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people attending our services.

We are committed to improving the oral health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

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Caring for your mouth after an extraction

dentist talking to patient

Day of extraction

When you’ve had a tooth removed (extracted) you need to take care of your mouth, so that you heal faster and feel better sooner.

To care for your mouth on the day of the extraction:

  • A gauze pack will be placed in your mouth to control bleeding. Keep the gauze firmly in place for at least half an hour.
  • Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours as this may disturb the blood clot.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol for 24 hours.
  • After an hour, you may eat and drink on the other side of your mouth, but nothing too hot or too cold.
  • Do not swish food or drink around your mouth, as this may disturb the blood clot.
  • Be careful not to bite your lip while it is numb from the anaesthetic.

Day after extraction

On the day after the extraction, dissolve a half teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and bathe the wound by holding the salty solution briefly in your mouth.

Continue to rinse gently with salt water after eating and before bed at night for at least the next five days.

Following an extraction, it is normal for there to be a small ooze of blood for the first 12-24 hours.

If bleeding is heavy or persistent, gently rinse your mouth with cool water, then place a clean gauze pack or clean folded 10cm square piece of material over the bleeding area (do not use a tissue or cotton wool). Bite firmly on the pack for 30 minutes and rest with your head slightly elevated.

If bleeding persists or is severe contact the dental clinic you attended or if the clinic is unavailable, ring the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Unit at the Adelaide Dental Hospital on 8222 8220.

For severe bleeding after hours, call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 for advice on further care options.

Pain relief

If you are experiencing pain following an extraction, take paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) or similar pain relief medication. (Note: Do not take Ibuprofen or Aspirin if you are allergic to these medications, have asthma, reflux or gastric ulcers).

For further advice on pain relief, contact the dental clinic you attended or your local doctor.

If you have had a surgical extraction:

  • Swelling is normal and can peak about 36 - 48 hours after surgery.
  • Swelling will start to reduce after 4 - 5 days. Some bruising may occur as swelling reduces.
  • To help reduce swelling at home, place an ice pack over your cheek for 20 minutes.
  • Remove for 10 minutes then repeat as required in the first 24 - 48 hours.
  • You may have trouble opening your mouth. This is normal and will become easier as swelling reduces.

Following a surgical extraction, you should restrict your diet to fluids and soft foods.

You can return to your normal diet over the next week and begin regular toothbrushing as soon as possible.