Dental extractions

A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth.

There are many reasons for a tooth to be extracted some reasons may include:

  • decay
  • infection
  • orthodontic reasons
  • trauma.

Following an extraction there are a number of instructions you should follow.

Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours after extraction as this may disturb the blood clot.

Day of extraction

  • A gauze pack has been placed in your mouth. Keep the gauze firmly in place for at least 30 minutes before removing.
  • Place a new pack if necessary - with clean hands. Wrap used packs in tissue and place in rubbish bin.
  • After an hour, you may eat and drink on the other side of your mouth, but nothing too hot or too cold. Do not swish food or drink around in your mouth.
  • Rest and avoid activities such as running, swimming and other physical sports for the rest of the day.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol for 24 hours.
  • Be careful not to bite your lip while it is numb.

Day after extraction

  • dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water
  • gently rinse the solution around the wound and spit out
  • continue rinsing gently with salt water for 3 to 5 days, after meals and before bedtime
  • continue daily tooth brushing and flossing.

Pain relief for children

Take Panadol, Ibuprofen (eg Nurofen) or similar pain relief if required, follow the instructions on the packet.

Pain relief for adults

  • you may experience pain over the next few days
  • take Panadol, Panadeine, Ibuprofen (Nurofen) or similar pain medication if required, follow the instructions on the packet
  • please note: do not take Ibuprofen or Aspirin if you are allergic to these medications, have asthma, reflux or gastric ulcers
  • speak to your pharmacist if you have any questions about medication for pain.


  • a small ooze of blood is common in the first 12 to 24 hours
  • if slight bleeding occurs, use clean hands to place a clean piece of folded gauze or cotton cloth over the area. Bite firmly on the pad for 30 minutes
  • rest with your head slightly elevated.

If there is any prolonged bleeding or pain during normal working hours, contact your dental clinic. After hours, call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 for advice on further care options.

Additional information following surgical extractions

  • swelling is normal and can reach its peak about 36 to 48 hours after surgery
  • swelling will start to reduce after 4 to 5 days
  • to help reduce swelling at home use an ice pack over your cheek for 20 minutes, remove for 10 minutes then repeat
  • some bruising may occur as the swelling reduces
  • sleep with 2 pillows so your head is slightly elevated
  • you may experience difficulty opening your mouth, this is normal and will become easier as swelling reduces
  • restrict your diet to fluids and soft foods
  • you may gradually return to your normal diet over the next week
  • begin normal brushing as soon as possible
  • spit, don’t rinse after brushing with fluoride toothpaste
  • tap water is the best drink.

Translated information for adults

Instructions for adult extractions is available in the following languages:

Translated information for children

Instructions for child extractions is available in the following languages: