Caring for your teeth and mouth

Taking care of your teeth and mouth includes brushing your teeth and using mouthwash. Here are some do’s and don’ts of caring for your teeth and mouth:


  • Brush your teeth 3 times a day, after breakfast and before bed. Use a regular toothbrush or an electric toothbrush.
  • Two (2) days after having your tooth pulled, rinse your mouth with Peridex® (chlorhexidine) 2 times a day. Rinse after breakfast and before bed. Rinse 2 times a day until you run out of Peridex®. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes (half an hour) after rinsing with Peridex®.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water after you eat. If you rinse with Peridex® first, wait 1 hour before rinsing with warm salt water.

Do not

  • Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing with Peridex®.

Pain and swelling

You will have the most pain and swelling for 2-3 days after having your tooth pulled. Here are some do’s and don’ts about pain and swelling:

  • Take Tylenol® (acetaminophen) and Motrin® (ibuprofen) together every 6 hours for pain. Follow your surgeon’s directions for how much you should take.
  • If Tylenol® and Motrin® do not work, take your prescription pain medication every 4-6 hours. Eat a snack before taking your prescription pain medication. Taking it without food can give you an upset stomach.
  • Use ice packs on your face for the first 2-3 days after surgery. Use ice packs for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off on each side of your face.
  • Sleep on your back with extra pillow to get your head above your heart to help limit swelling.

Upset stomach and vomiting

It is normal to have an upset stomach or to vomit after having your tooth pulled. This happens if you swallow a little blood while or after your tooth was pulled. Here are some tips to relieve an upset stomach:

  • Drink small amounts of soda every 5-6 hours. The bubbles in soda can help settle your stomach. Ginger ale, Sprite® and 7-Up® can relieve upset stomach.
  • If you have an upset stomach for more than a few days, call the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) at 617-726-2740. We can help you find ways to feel better.

When is my follow-up appointment?

One of the nurses from Pediatric Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) will call you one week after having your tooth pulled. You do not need to come back to the hospital for a follow-up appointment.


You can go back to your regular activities when you feel ready.

Food and drinks

After having your tooth pulled, it is important to eat soft foods. As your mouth heals, you can eat harder and crunchier foods. Here are some do’s and don’ts about food and drinks:


  • Eat soft foods to start. You can eat harder foods as your mouth heals.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for wearing your elastics.

Do not

  • Do not eat sharp or very crunchy foods, like pretzels or chips. Wait until your mouth heals to eat sharp or very crunchy foods.

Who can I call with questions or concerns?

If there is an emergency, go to your closest emergency room. If there is not an emergency, you can call:

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at 617-726-2740
  • Mass General for Children 617-726-2000

Ask for the oral surgeon on call. An oral surgeon can talk with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Rev. 7/2018. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.