Tooth Extraction Healing Time: What's Normal?

Couple Rests at Home While Recovering From a Tooth Extraction

Are you worried about what to expect after tooth removal? While your healing process can vary slightly depending on a few factors, the majority of healing takes place within seven to ten days. Luckily, if you're worried about how long pain lasts after tooth extraction, most people find that it decreases after day three.

It's during the first two days after tooth extraction that most aftercare and attention is needed. In addition to expecting some low-level bleeding for up to 24 hours after the extraction, keep an eye on maintaining the blood clot that forms in the socket where the tooth used to be.

What should a tooth extraction look like when healing?

Granulation tissue plays a key role in the healing process and helps protect the clot. When a tooth is extracted, granulation tissue forms after about one week, protecting the extraction site until the new bone can form, which takes about eight weeks.

To speed up your tooth extraction healing time, you can take measures to protect the open socket and avoid disturbing the blood clot.

What To Do After Tooth Extraction

Medical News Today recommends these to-do's for your tooth extraction healing and recovery:

Days 1 and 2:

  • Rest for at least 24 hours after the extraction, limiting activities. It's a good idea to raise (elevate) your head slightly when lying down.
  • Leave the gauze your dentist placed in the mouth for at least a few hours to allow the blood clot to form. Then you can change it as often as needed.
  • Avoid rinsing your mouth right away as it can dislodge the clot that's forming, affecting your healing time. You should also avoid drinking with a straw, spitting, drinking hot liquids or alcohol.
  • If possible, avoid blowing your nose and sneezing, especially if the tooth was removed from the upper half of the mouth. 
  • You should not smoke or use any tobacco products for at least three days following the procedure.
  • Take pain relievers as prescribed. They can also reduce inflammation.
  • Reduce or minimize swelling with an ice pack on your cheek for 10-20 minutes at a time.

Tips for a Speedy Recovery

Now that the blood clot has formed take these simple precautions to keep it in place, and prevent other issues while you continue to heal on days 3 through 10:

  • Rinse your mouth with saline rinses or a pinch of salt in warm water to kill bacteria.
  • Don't skip regular brushing or flossing during this time, but avoid cleaning the teeth next to where the extracted tooth was.
  • Eat a diet of soft, healthy foods and snacks that don't require a lot of chewing. Skip the chips and stick to soups, yogurts and similar foods.

At the two-week mark, you will typically visit your dentist and/or oral surgeon again for a post-operative check up. At that time, they will assess your healing to ensure you're having a successful tooth extraction recovery.

Recovery Concerns

According to Medical News Today, the normal healing process can take up to 10 days, but if you're experiencing these worsening symptoms you should contact, or go see your dentist or oral surgeon:

  • Pain and swelling that get worse with time
  • Bleeding that does not improve with time
  • A high fever, nausea or vomiting
  • Severe pain that spreads to the ear
  • Drainage from the wound that tastes or smells foul
  • If you develop a dry socket
  • Or, if you have HIV or another condition causing a weakened immune that can affect your ability to heal.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Healing Time

The healing time following a wisdom tooth extraction may last several weeks, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. After removal of these large molar teeth at the back of the mouth, the gums and bone will take some time to fully heal, and the soft tissue may be sensitive for a few weeks.

Ensuring a Healthy Healing Process

After the extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will advise you of your specific post-extraction regimen. The recovery time differs for each patient, but you can take steps to ensure a healthy healing process. Remember to treat the site of the extraction gently and follow your dentist's advice, and follow up care, for the fastest healing and best outcome.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Tips for Pain Management After TOOTH REMOVAL

Here are a few tips to help minimize your discomfort and speed recovery:

  • You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling. Alternate 20 minute on and 20 minutes off.

  • Eat soft and cool foods for a few days.

  • Starting 24 hours after surgery, swish with warm salt water. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water.

  • You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was.