Do you need to have a tooth extracted? Perhaps your wisdom teeth are poised to cause issues, or maybe one of your teeth is damaged due to a traumatic injury, tooth decay, or periodontal disease. Whatever the case, tooth extraction is a common procedure, and most people will experience it at one time or another. Although the recovery period is relatively quick, you will likely confront some side effects: swelling, bleeding, tenderness, soreness, etc. To better understand the process, review the tooth extraction healing stages below.
Reviewing the Tooth Extraction Healing Stages
The First 24 Hours
In the hours immediately following the extraction, your mouth will begin the healing process. A blood clot will form, and you will likely experience some bleeding and tenderness. To minimize the pain, your dentist may prescribe a pain reliever or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers. During the first day, it’s helpful to apply ice packs to your cheek externally (over the extraction site) to minimize swelling, which typically peaks about 24 hours after surgery.
1-2 Days After Extraction
The first few days after surgery are critical for the healing process, so it’s important that you follow your dentist’s instructions for post-op care. Your mouth will likely still feel sore and tender, and your face may be a bit swollen. During this stage, it’s typically important to get lots of rest, take any prescribed pain medication, keep your head elevated when sleeping, and avoid smoking, spitting, and drinking through straws. You’ll also need to consume a soft diet to avoid disturbing the blood clot.
3 Days After Extraction
A few days after surgery, the empty tooth socket should be mostly healed. However, you may still feel some tenderness or soreness. In addition, it’s still important to avoid disturbing the blood clot, so no straws, smoking, spitting, or hard foods. Your dentist may recommend that you gently rinse your mouth with a saline solution (warm water with salt) to prevent bacteria and infection. When you brush your teeth, floss, and eat, you’ll need to avoid disturbing the extraction site. Your mouth is healing, but it’s important that you’re gentle with it.
1 Week After Extraction
The blood clot should be fully formed. If your extraction required stitches, your dentist may remove them at this point. Of course, if they’re dissolvable stitches, they’ll simply disappear on their own. Although you can eat more foods at this stage, it’s important not to eat foods that may get trapped in the empty socket, like rice, nuts, popcorn, or fruits with small seeds (like raspberries).
2-3 Weeks After Extraction
Two to three weeks after surgery, your mouth will be almost fully healed. However, it’s still sensitive. Avoid aggravating the site with excessive brushing or chewing. In addition, don’t let debris build up in the empty socket. If your dentist advises you to do so, you may irrigate the socket with saline water to remove bits of food. If you’re not careful, you could still disrupt the healing process and perhaps cause an infection. Although you don’t need to be overly cautious, it’s important to be mindful of your mouth’s healing.
Keep in mind that your healing time will depend on the size and location of the wound. For example, a wisdom tooth will produce a larger, deeper wound when it’s removed, which means it will take longer to heal than, say, an incisor or a baby tooth. In addition, other factors can impact recovery time: age, medical conditions, smoking, etc.
Don’t hesitate to contact your dentist’s office if you have any questions about the tooth extraction healing stages or your post-op care. Within a few weeks, your mouth will be fully healed
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!