Aftercare Instructions for Extractions

Important information for patients who have had a tooth extracted by West End Dental.
Aftercare instructions for your extraction

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0808 164 1003.

Last Updated: 13 November 2023
Key Points To Remember
Essential Information
  • Do not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after the extraction.
  • Do not smoke for as long as possible. You should avoid smoking or using smokeless tobacco, including e-cigarettes, for at least two weeks.
  • Avoid eating whilst your gum, lips and tongue are still numb from local anaesthetic.
  • Stick to soft foods, so you reduce chewing forces. Chew on the opposite side of your mouth to avoid disturbing the healing socket.
  • Avoid hard foods where possible, at least for a few days.
  • It is normal for the socket to ooze blood for 24 hours or more after an extraction. You may also notice some mild bleeding for a day or two. This often looks worse than it is.
  • If you notice any bleeding, bite down on a moist gauze pack or most, clean handkerchief at the extraction site for at least 30 minutes. Avoid any activity until the bleeding stops.
  • If you feel any pain, you can manage this with over the counter painkillers. Use paracetamol, but avoid ibuprofen or aspirin for the first 24 hours, or at least until any oozing has stopped.
  • Do not brush your teeth for the first 24 to 48 hours. Avoid brushing near the extracton site for at least 1 week.
  • Do not rinse your mouth out for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Follow our instructions after this. Do not use shop-bought mouthwash for at least 1 week.
  • Ensure you collect any prescribed medication from a local pharmacy on the day of your extraction, and take the medication as prescribed.
  • Follow any specific instructions issued by our team.

If you have any questions regarding your treatment, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The First 24 Hours

Following the local anaesthetic, it may take a few hours before the feeling returns to your mouth. On some occasions this can take longer.

During this time, it is important to avoid very hot foods and drinks as you risk burning or scalding your mouth. It is also important to take extra care to avoid biting your tongue, lips and cheeks, especially when you try to speak, eat or drink.

Take a few hours to rest. Try to keep your head up if possible, to minimise bleeding and swelling.

Most people can return to their normal routine the same day as a simple tooth extraction. If you have had more than one tooth extracted recovery may take a little longer.

Pay attention to how you feel and follow any specific advice from your clinician.

If you need to, you can take some Paracetamol. It is best to avoid Aspirin or Ibuprofen for the first 24 hours, and at least until any oozing has stopped, as these medications can cause more bleeding to occur.


It is normal for the gum to ooze blood for 24 hours or more after an extraction. You may notice some mild bleeding for a day or two. This often looks worse than it is. This is because the blood mixes with your saliva.

Your clinical team will have asked you to bite down on a damp swab or gauze pack immediately after the extraction procedure. You may have been provided with additional gauze packs allowing you to repeat this process at home. You can also use material such as a clean handkerchief if necessary.

If you do notice any bleeding or oozing from the socket, moisten the gauze pack or material and then bite down firmly for at least 30 minutes.

You must moisten anything you use to bite down on to avoid the material sticking to the blood clot and disturbing it, which will cause more bleeding. This is very important.

Avoid walking or other activity until the bleeding stops.

It can be normal to see some blood stains on your pillow overnight. It is a good idea to protect your pillow with an old pillowcase.

Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous sedation is used in some procedures. This is where a sedative is administered to you through a vein under the supervision of a specifically qualified dental surgeon or anaesthetist. If you have had intravenous sedation, it may take you a bit longer to recover.

You must follow the specific instructions provided to you, both before and at your appointment.

You must not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours after the sedation was administered.

You may find that you feel sleepy for 24 hours; this is normal.

The Next Few Days

Experiencing discomfort is normal for a few days after an extraction.

There may be some swelling. You can use an ice pack or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel, placed on your face near the extraction location, to reduce any swelling. Any discomfort should settle down within around 3 to 5 days.

Occasionally an infection may occur in the extraction socket – this is known as a “dry socket”. This can be quite painful and will require the use of painkillers. Around 10% of extraction sites can be infected like this.

Patients who smoke are at greater risk of a dry socket than those who do not.

If you do have a dry socket, pain will normally occur 3 to 5 days after the extraction and will remain for around 7 to 10 days. Over the counter painkillers such as Paracetamol can be used to control the pain, but you may also need to return to see your clinician for further help.

You may have some visible bruising after an extraction. This can last for a couple of weeks.

Your jaw may feel stiff for up to a week. Do not force open your jaw if it is stiff.

If you are concerned about any symptoms after your extraction, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Rinsing Your Mouth

Do not rinse your mouth out for at least 24 hours after the extraction. Rinsing early can disturb any blood clot that has formed, which may lead to further bleeding.

After 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth gently with a salt-water mouthwash. This is made by mixing lots of salt with warm water in a glass. Do not use boiling water.

After 24 hours, you should use a salt-water mouthwash at least four times a day to keep the area clean.

Do not use mouthwash bought in a shop for at least a week. This can delay healing of the socket and may increase the risk of a dry or infected socket.

Brushing Your Teeth

You can start to brush the rest of your teeth around 24 to 48 hours after the extraction.

However, it is very important to keep your toothbrush away from the socket area for at least 1 week.

You can move closer to the socket after 1 week but take extra care not to disturb the healing gum tissue.

Medication and Review Appointments

It is essential that you follow any specific instructions issued by your clinician. If you have been prescribed medication, you should fill the prescription promptly at your local pharmacy. Do this on the same day of the extraction. Take the medication as prescribed.

If you have been asked to return for a post-treatment review, it is essential that you attend this appointment at the date and time booked. If you need to reschedule, please contact us as soon as possible.