How to take care of your teeth and gums after an extraction

Millions of Americans have tooth extractions every year. Whether your wisdom teeth are causing problems, you have a tooth that is too decayed or damaged to save with a root canal or dental crown, or you’ve sustained dental trauma, sometimes a tooth extraction is the best way to preserve your oral and dental health. 

Tooth extraction is one of the most common procedures performed in the United States, but you still need to take care of your mouth carefully after a tooth removal surgery. The expert oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Benicia Oral Surgery provide customized advice for before and after your extractions. 

Here are their 6 tips for a rapid recovery

Start off on the right foot

You can prepare for your extraction to give yourself the best foundation for a smooth recovery. You should avoid cigarettes and tobacco products in general, but especially in the days leading up to your procedure. Additionally, you shouldn’t have an alcoholic drink for at least 24 hours before your procedure. Make sure to tell your doctor about any medications you take regularly — prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and supplements. They’ll let you know if you need to temporarily stop taking anything before your surgery. 


Rest is critical to recovery. Your body does most of its cellular and tissue repair while you sleep. You will be tired after your procedure. While your surgeon won’t release you until you’ve woken up from your sedation, the medicine stays in your system and makes you sleep for several hours. However, even after the effects of your sedative are gone, it’s essential to give your body time to rest. 

Manage your pain

Your surgeon may prescribe pain medicine to get you through the first couple of days after your surgery. However, once the initial pain subsides, you should be able to manage your discomfort with ice packs and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. If your pain gets worse or if you notice signs of infection such as very red, swollen gums, call Benicia Oral Surgery to schedule a follow-up appointment. 

Clean your teeth carefully

You’re probably curious about how you should brush and floss your teeth when your missing a tooth or teeth and have empty sockets. You shouldn’t brush, floss, or even rinse your mouth for the first day after your extraction. You should make sure to rinse carefully after you eat, but be careful. While you want to remove any food debris, too much rinsing or suction can dislodge the clots in your sockets and lead to dry socket, a painful complication.

In most cases, you can begin to brush and floss the day after your surgery again, but avoid the extraction sites and supplement with a saltwater rinse. You should only return to cleaning the extraction sites when your gums have fully healed.

Eat well

Nutrition is always important, but you need to stick to soft, cool foods while your gums heal. Hot foods could irritate your gums, and hard, crunchy food may get stuck in your gums. You can have yogurt, smoothies, applesauce, and warm soup or mashed potatoes. 

Don’t smoke or drink alcohol

You should also avoid cigarettes and alcohol after your extraction. Both tobacco and alcohol can interfere with your body’s natural ability to repair and generate new cells. 

Follow the surgeon’s instructions

These guidelines represent a general rule of thumb for a successful recovery from a tooth extraction. Your surgeon provides customized advice and reviews all aftercare instructions with you. The team at Benicia Oral Surgery has been performing tooth extractions for many years. They have the experience needed to tell you exactly how to take care of your mouth after your procedure. 

If you need a tooth extraction, you can count on expert care before, during, and after your surgery from the team of oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Benicia Oral Surgery. Call or make an appointment online today.

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