Tooth Extraction Healing Timeline
The recovery process following a tooth extraction is commonly discussed in popular media, movies, and viral funny videos, but what can you expect during the process? Read on in this blog from Landman Dentistry by the Lake, PLLC to find out how long it takes to heal and how your symptoms will change over time.
Why You Might Need a Tooth Extraction
There are many reasons for tooth extractions, but you can rest assured that a dentist will never recommend a tooth extraction unnecessarily. We strongly believe in preserving the health of your existing teeth so whenever possible, we will recommend other restorative treatments that can save your tooth.
However, in some cases, teeth cannot be saved or tooth extraction is necessary for some other treatment. A tooth may not be salvageable if you have tooth decay, gum disease, an infection, severe dental trauma, need to make room for orthodontic treatment, or your tooth is impacted.
Right after your tooth extraction, you can expect some minor bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. You will either be prescribed pain medication or you can take anti-inflammatory pain medication to relieve any pain you are experiencing.
The pain should get better each day and should not be severe. It is normal to experience bleeding after extraction and gauze will be placed at the extraction site immediately after your extraction to stop bleeding and encourage blood clotting.
You will need to bite down on the gauze for 30 to 60 minutes and change it out with fresh dampened gauze. Bleeding may continue for the first 24 hours. Avoid all forms of suction and alcohol which can interfere with blood clotting.
A blood clot should start to form within 24 hours and swelling will peak about 24 hours after surgery. You can relieve swelling by keeping your head elevated and applying cold compresses. Consume very soft foods that are mostly liquids and avoid hot drinks.
A Few Days After
You will need to continue to avoid hard or chewy foods. Especially in the first few days, you should consume foods that require minimal chewing, like soups and pudding. Do not smoke or engage in strenuous activity for a few days.
By day 3, the socket should be mostly healed. Swelling should be very minor and discomfort should be minimal except for some mild tenderness in the socket. Bleeding should not continue past this point and if it does, contact your dentist right away.
Make sure you are keeping the socket clean by chewing on the opposite side of your mouth, rinsing your mouth with saline rinses, and brushing and flossing your teeth.
Within 7 to 10 days, the blood clot should be fully formed. If you don’t have a blood clot or it has been dislodged, you will likely experience severe pain due to dry socket. This is a dental emergency that requires immediate treatment.
After the first week, you can start to incorporate chewier foods into your diet with the approval of your dentist. If you received dissolving stitches, they should be dissolved by now. If your stitches are non-dissolving, you will need to return to have them removed.
2 weeks post extraction, you should be mostly healed aside from some very mild tenderness at the extraction site. We recommend you continue to avoid brushing directly at the site so you don’t cause irritation or pain.
Because you are still at risk for infection at this point, you should continue to avoid chewing on this side of your mouth. For a basic extraction, you should be fully healed within 3 to 4 weeks. Surgical extractions may take slightly longer for a full recovery. Make sure to keep the socket clear of debris from food and bacteria.
Will I Experience Pain?
No, despite popular belief, removing a tooth is not painful at all! Modern dentistry involves the use of anesthetic and sedation to provide the most comfortable experience possible. We will always administer local anesthesia to numb the mouth before beginning to work on your tooth.
This prevents pain sensation and the most you will feel is some pressure or dental tools moving around in your mouth. If you would like to be sedated, we offer several options, from mild to deep sedation, including general anesthesia.
What to Look Out for After a Tooth Extraction
While healing can take 3-4 weeks for a full recovery from an extraction, and may involve some minor bleeding, swelling, and tenderness along the way, there are certain signs that something is not right.
Pay attention to how much and how long you are bleeding. If bleeding is excessive or continues for longer than 3 days, this is not normal. Pain and swelling should improve each day, not get worse. If you notice any of these issues after an extraction, contact us at Landman Dentistry by the Lake, PLLC right away.
Expert Extractions At Landman Dentistry by the Lake, PLLC
If you need a tooth extraction, you’re in good hands at Landman Dentistry by the Lake, PLLC. We offer dental sedation and make you feel as comfortable as possible with an anesthetic. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Robert Landman.