Post Operative Instructions

After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Bite on a gauze pad for 20-30 minutes immediately after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood.


  • Expect bleeding and oozing for up to 8 hours after surgery as the blood clot forms. This may vary for each individual. Bite down on the gauze pads provided to you. Replace gauze pads every 20-30 minutes or as needed. Gauze must be slightly wet/damp with cold water before placing it in the mouth. Once gauze is a LIGHT PINK in color you may leave the gauze out. 

Swelling/ Bruising

  • Expect swelling to occur during the healing process. Ice Packs can be applied to the face for the first 3 days. Place ice packs on the outside of the cheek for 20 minutes, then remove ice pack for 20 minutes. Repeat steps as needed during the first 3 days. Warm moist heat can be applied on the 4th day following surgery to reduce swelling and provide comfort. There may be some discoloration/bruising of the skin during the healing process and will disappear within a few days.


  • Pain for several days (up to 7) following the surgery can be expected as normal. As with swelling, the pain may increase for the first 24-72 hours, then begin to subside. If you are experiencing pain a week after your surgery that seems to be getting worse rather than better day-by-day you may call our office. Pain medication should be taken as prescribed. If you are normally able to tolerate ibuprofen, an adult may take up to 600mg every 6 hours. Avoid driving, exercise, working and decision making while taking narcotic pain medication.  Please eat 30 minutes prior to taking any medication. If you were prescribed an antibiotic you must take it until it is all gone. DO NOT skip any doses!


  • Soft foods should be eaten for the first 72 hours after surgery. Examples include: soup, mashed potatoes,  jell-o, pudding, ice cream. Follow your regular diet as tolerated after 72 hours. Drink plenty of fluids but AVOID the use of a STRAW for the first 4 days. 


  • If a medicated mouth rinse was prescribed to you (Peridex), you can lightly rinse areas after meals. If a medicated mouth rinse was not provided to you, you may use warm salt water after meals.  Only start Peridex/warm salt water after the first 24 hours. The sockets fill in the from bottom up and can take up to 4-6 weeks to fill in so the areas may look open for while. You should continue using the Peridex/warm salt water until the areas are completely closed. Brush your teeth gently for the first day to avoid disturbing the blood clot. Do NOT spit the water out vigorously after brushing or rinsing. Please lean over the sink and let the water fall out for the first 4 days. If sutures (stitches) were placed during surgery, they will dissolve on their own in 2-10days. 


  • Absolutely NO SMOKING for the first 4 days after surgery to prevent disturbing the healing process. Avoid vigorous exercising and heavy lifting for up to 7days or longer if instructed by your doctor. 

If you have any questions or concerns after hours please call our office at 812-814-9245. We have an after hours answering service that can direct your call to Dr. William Hughes or Dr. Raymond Lee.