Tooth Extractions: Healing Stages And Recovery Times

tooth extraction

A tooth extraction or a tooth removal can be traumatic, especially because many people don’t know what to expect during the procedure. Both tooth extraction healing and tooth extraction recovery times will be unique to the individual. However, in general, you can expect the following during your recovery from a tooth extraction.

Why Would I Need A Tooth Extraction?

There are several reasons why your dentist may recommend removing a tooth, but the most common is decay. When a cavity isn’t treated, it can turn into an abscess, which can require a dental extraction. Sometimes there isn’t enough room for all of your teeth, so one or more will need to be removed to make room for the other teeth.

Regardless of the reason, the extraction procedure is the same, but you may need additional procedures if the extraction is due to decay. If so, your recovery from tooth extraction may take longer when you’ve needed additional procedures.

How Long Does A Tooth Extraction Take To Heal?

Your tooth extraction healing time will be unique to your situation. However, you can expect to feel poorly and experience some pain during the first 24 hours after your tooth removal. During the first two days, you’ll need to exercise particular care in attending to your extraction site, but it should be mostly healed within seven to ten days.

However, pain from your tooth removal should abate each day and completely subside by the fourth day. During days one through three, you may experience some pain and some minor bleeding, particularly during the first 24 hours.

How Should My Tooth Extraction Site Look?

Your site should begin to clot and form whitish granulation tissue after about a week. Granulation tissues protect the clot from dissolving and protect the site while new bone is forming.

What Should I Not Do After A Tooth Extraction?

If you’re wondering what to do after tooth extraction, the most important task is to avoid disturbing the site so that the clot doesn’t break open. If your clot opens up, then you’ll need to start the clotting process over again. This will lengthen your overall healing time as well as increase the likelihood of developing an infection. You can do this by:

  • Avoid developing a dry socket
  • After the first few hours, change your gauze frequently
  • Don’t rinse your mouth
  • Don’t smoke or use any type of tobacco product
  • Avoid sneezing or blowing your nose
  • Don’t spit
  • Rest for the first 24 hours
  • Sleep with your head elevated
  • Don’t drink through a straw

What’s The Normal Healing After Tooth Extraction?

During the first 24 hours of your tooth extraction healing process, you need to rest and keep your head elevated. Avoid rinsing your mouth, chewing, smoking, and exercising. Use over-the-counter pain medication as needed and recommended by your oral surgeon, and change your gauze as needed.

Your pain should subside on the second day, and by the third and subsequent days, you shouldn’t have pain. If you do, then contact your oral surgeon’s office. Gradually, your site should heal, and you’ll be able to resume your normal routine. It’s best to avoid crunchy foods and those containing nuts, seeds, or chips until your dentist clears you to do so.

What Are The Day By Day Tooth Extraction Healing Stages?

You may heal more quickly or more slowly during your tooth extraction recovery, but generally, you can expect the following for normal healing after tooth extraction:

Day 1

  • Get ample rest
  • Change your gauze as necessary after the first few hours
  • Avoid smoking, vaping, or using any tobacco product
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication as necessary
  • Use cold compresses as needed for 10 to 20 minutes each time
  • Keep your head elevated

Days 3 to 10

  • Use a commercial saline rinse or warm salt water to rinse your mouth several times throughout the day. This will help to kill any bacteria that may be forming.
  • Maintain your good oral hygiene regimen, but avoid brushing or flossing the teeth adjacent to the extraction site.
  • Avoid crunchy foods such as chips and nuts.
  • Eat soft foods, liquids, and snacks that don’t require chewing but are healthy for you, such as soup, yogurt, fruit popsicles, and so forth.

Days 11 to 14

Schedule a visit with your oral surgeon for your post-op checkup to ensure that your extraction is proceeding successfully.

Is The Procedure The Same For A Molar Extraction?

If you’ve had a wisdom tooth extracted, it may take several weeks for the incision to heal fully, and you may require additional pain medication. If your pain persists for more than 24 hours and isn’t manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers, then contact your oral surgeon.

How Long Does Pain Last After Tooth Extraction?

Extraction site pain should be manageable with over-the-counter pain medications for the first 24 hours of your recovery from tooth extraction. After that, your pain after tooth extraction should subside, and you should be relatively pain-free after three days. If your pain doesn’t respond to over-the-counter pain relievers after the initial 24 hours, then contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

Are There Home Remedies For Tooth Extraction Pain?

For those who are averse to taking pain medication, some types of home remedies may help to alleviate the pain during your tooth extraction healing stages. Home remedies can include:

  • Ice packs: For about 20 minutes at a time, apply an ice pack that’s wrapped in a towel or soft cloth. This may help alleviate swelling, but don’t apply an ice pack directly to your skin.
  • Saline rinse: You can rinse with a commercial saline rinse or warm salt water after the initial 24 hours, but take care not to destroy the blood clot.
  • NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can alleviate most pain and swelling. Since aspirin can thin your blood, it should probably be avoided, but ask your oral surgeon for their recommendation.

What If I Have Multiple Extractions On Different Sides Of My Mouth?

If your oral surgeon has determined that you need multiple tooth extractions, then you’ll probably need to undergo general anesthesia and need someone to drive you home. Your oral surgeon will provide you with instructions that are specific to your tooth extraction healing procedure, and your tooth extraction healing stages may be slightly different.

What Should A Tooth Extraction Look Like When Healing?

After the initial 24 hours, you may notice white tissue at the extraction site. This is normal and is granulation tissue that’s comprised of white blood cells, capillaries, and collagen, and it promotes healing. Your extraction site should be mostly free of bleeding and swelling after about three days, and the incision will be mostly healed.

Is Pain Management Different For A Bone Graft Or Dental Implants?

Although your pain after a dental extraction may be manageable with over-the-counter medications, your dentist will most likely provide you with prescription pain medications if you’ve had a bone graft or dental implants. The pain from those can be more intense, but your dentist will recommend the best method for managing your pain. Call our office to schedule a consultation or if you’d like an estimate for a bone graft cost.

Are There Any Complications That I Should Be Aware Of?

Although it’s normal for it to take up to ten days for an extraction site to heal, some conditions may indicate that you may not have a normal socket after tooth extraction. You should be aware of any of the following:

  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop over time
  • Dry socket
  • Drainage that smells or tastes bad
  • Fever, vomiting, or nausea
  • Increasing or severe pain, particularly if it spreads to your ear
  • Swelling that increases or stays the same over time
  • Weakened immune system issues, such as if you have HIV or another autoimmune disorder

If you need or want more information on your tooth extraction recovery, be sure to call our office. We want to ensure that you maintain a healthy socket after extraction, so if you need help with this, be sure to let us know. Tooth extraction healing time is specific to the individual, so that yours may take more or less time, depending on your unique physiology.

If You Think You Need A Dental Extraction…

If you require more information on your tooth extraction healing stages or if you’re having problems with a tooth and think you may need tooth removal, then call our local Houston office at (713) 322-8811. We’ll be happy to schedule an extraction consultation for you at Voss Dental in Houston, Texas. We’re among the best in the Houston, Texas area for all your dental needs, so call us today.