Problems after a tooth extraction


When you contact your dental practice or Health Board for a dental appointment, you MUST tell them if you have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID19) OR you are currently self-isolating OR you have possible symptoms.

Dental practices have to comply with social distancing measures so please do not attend without having made an appointment first.

After a tooth extraction it is normal to experience some discomfort and a small amount of bleeding. You should have received some instructions on how to care for your mouth after the tooth was extracted. Try to follow these instructions as closely as you can to allow your mouth to heal well. See the information below, which advises on how to deal with common problems after an extraction.

Pain after a tooth extraction

Your mouth may still be numb for several hours after an extraction- take care not to bite your lip or tongue. Once the local anaesthetic has worn off you may feel some discomfort in the area of the mouth where the tooth has been extracted.

Painkillers such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can help (following the instructions on the packet). BE CAREFUL not to overdose and remember that different brand names can contain the same painkillers.

Smokers are likely to suffer from complications such as pain and infection after a tooth extraction. If you smoke, try to avoid smoking for as long as possible after a tooth extraction. You may wish to consider giving up smoking. You can receive support by calling 0800 085 2219 or visiting 

Do not rinse your mouth out on the day of the extraction. On the day following the extraction and for several days afterwards, gently rinse your mouth with warm, salty water for one minute at least 3-4 times daily. This can help keep the extraction site clean and speed up healing.

Follow the advice above and the discomfort should reduce with time. However, if you find that you have worsening pain, which is not manageable with painkillers, call your dental practice. If it's outside of normal opening hours, there should be a message with details of how to access out-of-hours dental treatment.

If you do not have a regular dentist, you need to call the appropriate dental helpline number for your Local Health Board.

Find a dentist near you.

Bleeding after a tooth extraction

A small amount of bleeding from the tooth socket is normal within the first 24 hours of an extraction. Some medications (e.g. Warfarin, Rivaroxaban, Apixaban, Clopidogrel, Aspirin) thin the blood and if you take these you may be more likely to experience bleeding after an extraction.

How can you stop bleeding?

If you are experiencing bleeding from the extraction socket:

  • Do not rinse your mouth as this will disturb the blood clot that forms in the socket and it will continue to bleed
  • Do not exercise or drink alcohol as these can cause further bleeding
  • Bite down firmly on some gauze (you may have been given this at the end of your appointment) or a clean handkerchief/similar for 30 minutes. The easiest way to do this is to put your elbow on a table, lean forward and put your chin on your hand. The weight of your head will keep your mouth firmly closed.
  • This pressure should stop the bleeding and allow a clot to form. If this doesn’t work first time, repeat this step once.
  • Be careful not to disturb the clot by eating a soft diet and keeping food away from the socket
  • Brush your teeth as normal but be gentle in the areas around the socket

If you cannot control the bleeding despite trying all of the measures above call your dental practice for advice.

If you do not have a regular dentist, call the appropriate dental helpline number for your Local Health Board.

Swelling after a tooth extraction

If you develop a facial swelling that is increasing in size and/or making it difficult to breathe/swallow and/or extending towards your eye, you should attend your local Accident and Emergency (A&E) unit.

For other facial swellings, call your dental practice. If you do not have a regular dentist, call the appropriate dental helpline number for your Local Health Board.

The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website
Last Updated: 16/11/2022 08:40:11