Post Op Instructions

After either a root canal or extraction:
If you are allowed to take ibuprofen (Advil), take 400-600 mg every 6 hours for a day or so. It is recommended for both for the procedures, and for the muscles from opening for a longer period. If you are not allowed to take ibuprofen, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) 1000mg every 4 hours, if your Physician allows. These two medications can be taken at the same time, if deemed necessary.

It is important to follow instructions after you have oral surgery to ensure proper healing and to avoid complications. As a rule of thumb, you should always wait two hours after surgery before eating to let the anesthesia wear off. Trying to eat before this could result in soft tissue damage because you are not able to feel all of your mouth. The instructions found below are guidelines. After your surgery the doctor or dental assistant will give you full instructions on how to properly recover from surgery.

Root Canal Therapy

You can expect soreness after a root canal procedure for a few days. You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed so you do not irritate the area and also to ensure that the temporary restorative material properly sets. You may need to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection in your tooth. If you notice an increasing amount of pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary restoration (filling) call our office immediately.


After the surgery you will need to rest. You need to be driven home by a friend or family member because of the anesthesia. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. Please bite with some pressure on the gauze to help the clotting process. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call our office. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Dr Westrick may prescribe you pain medication, so if you become sore take as directed. Please remove gauze when taking oral pain tablets, because the gauze could be inadvertently swallowed. Please apply an ice pack to your cheek in the surgical area, 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off, for a few hours. Dr Westrick might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site.

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups
  • ...and other food you can eat without chewing.

When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, numbness or don't feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist for a follow up.

Bone Grafting:

It is normal to have some grafting particles dislodge from the surgical site. It will feel like coarse grains of sand in your mouth. We have placed many, generally hundreds of particles in the site, and losing a few is not significant. Please do not do a sucking (or drawing) motion if a piece of food gets stuck in the socket.

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