If you find a tooth extraction is necessary for your dental health, you’re probably wondering just how long you should use gauze after the extraction.
While the answer depends upon the guidance given by your oral surgery care team, there are some basics about leaving the gauze in place, as well as other aftercare information.
How Long Gauze Should Remain in Place After Tooth Extraction
In general, after a tooth extraction or removal of wisdom teeth, you should bite on gauze moistened with clean, cold tap water. Be sure that the gauze is placed directly on the surgical site and bite firmly for 30-45 minutes. Check to see if you are still bleeding before removing it. If there is still some bleeding, you can replace the soaked gauze with a fresh piece of moistened gauze and bite for another 30-45 minutes. Some patients prefer biting on a moistened tea bag, instead of gauze, as a tea bag is larger and the tannic acid in the tea bag helps with clot formation.
Note that it is necessary to remove your gauze before consuming any foods or liquids, but then replace the gauze if it is still needed when you’re done.
Eating and Drinking After Tooth Extraction
Your oral surgery care team will provide guidelines that include what and when you can eat and drink after your extraction. Only cold soft foods and cold temperature liquids are recommended on the same day as your extraction. Starting the next day, after bleeding has stopped, it is often okay to begin drinking hot or warm liquids, such as coffee or soup, and eating warm soft foods.
Straws, Cigarettes, and Certain Foods Should Be Avoided
Avoid using a straw when drinking any liquids, and avoid smoking cigarettes, for one week following an extraction because the suction can dislodge the healing blood clot that is covering your extraction site. That could restart the bleeding process, requiring you to begin biting on gauze pads again. It can also cause you to develop a dry socket.
For the same reason, it is important to avoid hot or warm liquids on the day of your extraction. Heat could melt whatever blood clot is forming at the extraction site.
At Manchester Oral Surgery, we also recommend avoiding crunchy foods – those that often come out of a bag – for the first 4 weeks after an extraction. These include chips, popcorn, pretzels, or nuts, as these foods can get stuck within a healing extraction site and increase the risk of infection.
Other Care Following Extraction
Avoid vigorous rinsing of liquids in your mouth on the day of the extraction. However, the day after your extraction, you should begin gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. At Manchester Oral Surgery, we recommend, multiple times a day starting the day after your extraction, dissolving a ½ teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and letting the warm salt water soak in your mouth, over the surgical site, followed by gentle rinsing and spitting.
Are You Ready to Learn More About Extractions?
If you’re ready to learn more about extractions, or if you’d like to make an appointment, just reach out to us today at Manchester Oral Surgery! We’re here to help.