An extraction can sound intimidating if you’ve never had one before. However, with a combination of anesthetic and sedation, we can make you as comfortable as possible so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort.
After this stage of the process, however, will come your recovery. It’s essential to understand aftercare protocols to prevent infection and dry socket. Read on in this blog from Z Dentistry to learn about the healing timeline following a tooth extraction.
Immediately following your tooth extraction, you will experience bleeding from the socket. This is why gauze will be placed at the extraction site to stop the bleeding. You will need to bite down on these for about 30 to 60 minutes.
If bleeding continues, you must keep swapping out the gauze with a fresh, dampened piece. Bleeding can continue for up to 24 hours but should be minimal and should not get worse with time. It can look like more blood than it is because the blood mixes with your saliva, turning it red.
The anesthetic will not wear off for a few hours so you will likely not feel any pain right away. However, a few hours after your extraction, you may start to feel discomfort. If that occurs, you can take anti-inflammatory pain medication for relief.
You will likely need to take at least a day off from work, school, or other obligations. You should go home and rest and avoid strenuous activity. Swelling peaks 2 to 3 days following the extraction but the best time to minimize it is in the first 24 hours by using a cold compress. Stick to mostly liquid foods like meal replacement shakes (without a straw), broth-based soups, and pudding.
Once 24 hours have passed, you should not be experiencing any bleeding. A blood clot should start to form around the extraction site. Be careful not to dislodge it by sipping through a straw or vigorously rinsing your mouth.
These things should be avoided for 24 hours along with drinking alcohol or consuming hot liquids. You should continue with mostly liquid foods that require almost no chewing for the first 48 hours.
After that, you can switch to soft foods that require a little more chewing. Do not smoke for at least 3 days following your extraction. Ideally, it should be avoided completely. Swelling will peak around day 2 or 3. Keep your head elevated to reduce swelling.
Practice good oral hygiene by swishing around a saline solution a few times a day. After the first day, you can brush and floss like normal but be careful to avoid the extraction site. You will likely still feel tenderness.
At this point, you don’t need to continue eating liquid foods. You can introduce more solid soft foods like pasta, rice, bread, or soft vegetables. The bulk of the healing will occur during this first week and any bleeding should not be occurring at this point. Swelling should be significantly reduced and tenderness at this point is normal but should be subsiding more each day.
A blood clot should now be completely formed at the extraction site. If you had a surgical extraction that required stitches, they will either be dissolving or you will need to return to the office around a week after the extraction to have them removed.
Swelling should be gone at this point and you should not feel any significant pain. About 2 weeks post extraction, you should be almost fully healed. However, you should still avoid brushing directly at the extraction site because you are still not in the clear for risk of infection.
For a basic extraction, more patients will be completely healed in 3 to 4 weeks even if there is very minimal tenderness still present. Return to normal brushing and flossing if the socket is fully healed and keep the area clear of debris. If you had wisdom teeth surgically extracted, it can take a little longer to fully heal – up to 1 to 3 months.
While prevention is always better than the cure, we can help you remove a deeply decayed, loose, or damaged tooth so that you can get your oral health back on track. Contact us at Z Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jason or Anh Simms.