Jason Erasmus - Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Christchurch, New Zealand

After Tooth Extraction

What Can You Expect?

  • You can expect a limited amount of bleeding from the surgical sites after surgery.
  • Postoperative pain can range from discomfort to moderate pain. Although a degree of pain is normally to be expected after multiple extractions, most patients find Paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen to be adequate to manage any pain they may have. All necessary prescriptions will be given to you in advance. Within 5-7 days after surgery there is usually little need for any medication at all. 
  • There is likely to be swelling of the cheek which will only peak 24 hours after surgery; it can be minimized by applying ice packs to the side of your cheeks for the afternoon after surgery.
  • Bruising is not an uncommon finding after tooth extraction. 
  • The sutures we use are dissolvable, but will take an average of 2-3 weeks to do so. Removal is generally not needed.

Post-Operative Instructions After Tooth Extraction

Post-operative care after the extraction of a tooth is important. If followed carefully, it may minimize side effects and prevent complications.

Immediately Following Surgery

Post-operative care is important. If followed carefully, it may minimize side effects and prevent complications.

  • Avoid hot food and drinks as it may cause bleeding during the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Mouth rinsing during the first 24 hours after surgery should be avoided. This may dislodge the blood clot and initiate bleeding.
  • The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be left in place for half an hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
  • Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed.
  • Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anesthetic wearing off.  It is good practice to stay on top of pain by taking your painkillers regularly (i.e. 6-hourly) for the first 2-3 days.  We prefer to prevent pain rather than treat pain
  • If you have been placed on antibiotics, start taking it as soon as you have had something to eat.  Do not take antibiotics on an empty tummy. 
  • After arriving home, sit down and keep your head elevated for the first 6 hours after surgery.  Avoid lying down flat as this may cause bleeding and an increase in swelling.
  • If you had your surgery under iv sedation, do not drive a vehicle.  Doing so could lead to charges of driving under the influence of drugs.  This means a responsible person will need to take you home. It is fine to use a taxi, but you must still have a responsible person to accompany you. Travelling alone after sedation is not appropriate.
  • A soft, bland diet is recommended at first, but you may resume your normal diet as soon as you feel comfortable chewing. It is advised that you avoid sharp food items like crackers and chips, as they will irritate the surgical site if they jab the wound during initial healing.

The first 24 hours after surgery

  • Do not drink any alcohol (including beer), as this will cause bleeding and may adversely interact with the medication you are taking.
  • Do not smoke for as long as possible following surgery as it slows down wound healing and makes you more susceptible to infection.

Please read a full description of potential side effects after a tooth extraction.

Sometimes food trapping after tooth removal can become a problem, please read our advice about using irrigation syringes

Remember to come along to your Post-Op Check Appointment. You will have been told the date.
If you have any problems before then, please contact us:

Office: 03 3551155 or Jason Erasmus: 021 873 783