If you have had a tooth extracted, please be aware it takes 3 / 4 weeks for the gums to heal and up to six months for the bone to heal. The following steps will help prevent bleeding, relieve soreness & infection:


Rest for a few hours following treatment and avoid strenuous exercise for the rest of the day.


You can help avoid infection by starting to rinse your mouth 24 hours after the procedure. Rinse with warm salty water (one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) or chlorhexidine gluconate 0.2% (one brand name is Corsodyl). Rinse for 7 days after the day of treatment 3 / 4 times a day. Do not rinse on the same day as the surgery. If you do, it may move the blood clot and delay healing. When rinsing hold the solution in your mouth for 2-3 minutes. It is important to still brush your teeth as normal, but be gentle around the site of surgery.


Be careful of eating/drinking in the first few hours after surgery as you will be still be numb from the anaesthetic and you can easily bite/burn yourself. It may be sensible to avoid eating until the anaesthetic has worn off. This is not advised if you have a medical condition, e.g. diabetes, that would be worsened by any fasting. Avoid hard or chewy foods for a couple of days and restrain from consuming alcohol for 48 hours.


Ideally smoking should be stopped following surgery. Smokers are at a greater risk of developing a painful dry/infected socket. If you are not able to stop smoking, try to smoke your bare minimum. You may wish to use this time as an opportunity to stop smoking. Consider contacting your GP or NHS Lanarkshire’s Smoking Cessation
Service – call 08452 17 77 07 / text ‘Advice’ to 81066.


Should slight bleeding occur sit upright with head and shoulders raised. Apply pressure using gauze, cotton rolls, clean linen or kitchen roll. Bite firmly for 60 minutes. Do not check every 2-3 min. If still bleeding after 1hr contact the dental practice if within office hours; out with these hours’ phone NHS 24 on 111.


An appropriate 5-day regime is paracetamol 500mg 4 times a day, at 4 hour intervals. Alternatively, one could take 5 days of Ibuprofen 400mg 4 times a day. Do not take Ibuprofen if medically contra-indicated. Consult your GP/pharmacist for further advice.


After surgery, pain & swelling of the mouth is normal, even for the simplest of extractions. Pain will last a few days. Swelling will increase over the first 48 hours and normally lasts for a further 5-7 days before disappearing. It is a normal part of the healing process and does not mean you have an infection in the immediate post-surgery period. Pain & swelling can take longer to resolve depending on the procedure done, your age & your medical health.

Post extraction, if you do get an infection in the socket, the pain and swelling will become worse about four to six days after surgery. You may have a fever and/or a bad taste/odour in the mouth. If you have any concerns, contact the dental practice without delay for further advice.

CALL US, in Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire, to enquire further about our dentists.