Healing After Tooth Extraction

You may be surprised to know that having a tooth extracted is a common experience of many Americans each year. However, you should know your dentist will only recommend you have your tooth removed if it is absolutely necessary. Tooth extraction is a treatment only used when other treatments are either not effective or are no longer an option.  If you have a tooth extraction in your future, it helps to be prepared and know more about the procedure and what to expect from the recovery period post-extraction. Below is more information to get you started.

Why tooth extraction?

First off, there are numerous reasons why a dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. It is important to know that the extraction is not a sign of giving up, but rather a technique used to preserve your future oral health. For example, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction if you have an infected or decaying tooth in order to stop the spread of infection or if your wisdom have come in and they are pushing on your other teeth. Whatever the reason, the dentist is making this decision to keep you healthy and your teeth healthy.

The extraction recovery period

It is important prior to the procedure that you are aware of what the expectations are for recovery. Will you need to take time off of work? What kind of food can you eat after the procedure? Will you need assistance? Before your procedure you should have a discussion with your dentist and make sure to get an answer to all of your questions and you are as prepared as possible.

How long is the recovery?

One of the most common questions individuals have is “how long is the recovery”? The recovery timeline varies from person to person and depends on many factors, including:

  • The size of the wound. The larger and deeper the extraction wound, the longer it will take for the socket to heal.
  • Your body. Everyone’s body heals differently. Additionally, other factors such as your current health, age, and health behaviors will all impact how quickly you heal from the extraction.
  • The extracted tooth. The health of the tooth that was removed will also affect healing. If you had an infected tooth, then there may be some resulting infection in the gum tissue. Unhealthy tissue may take longer to heal.

Immediate Healing after Extraction

The first 24 hours post-extraction is the most important period of the healing process. In the first few hours, bleeding will stop, and a blood clot will start to develop in the wound. This blood clot plays a critical role in protecting the exposed bones and nerves in the empty tooth socket and in helping new tissue to grow. The area treated will be inflamed and swollen for a few days after the procedure, but the pain should subside overtime. After 3 days, both the pain and swelling will start to decrease and you should feel comfortable. If you are nervous about the pain post-extraction you should have a conversation with your dentist about pain medications available to you.

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