After having a tooth extraction surgery, many patients are unsure of the healing process. They do not know exactly how things will go in their mouth and what are the things that they can and cannot do at the different stages. The proverb “little knowledge is dangerous” holds true everywhere. If you don’t know about something, either you might end up to alarmed or too complacent. To avoid either of those situations, you need to know about the tooth extraction healing stages.
Whether you’ve had a tooth extraction due to decay, gum disease, physical trauma, or tooth crowding, the recovery process can be hard to deal with. Even a simple wisdom tooth extraction has a recovery time of almost 2 weeks. The empty, bloody sockets in the mouth can also make many people uncomfortable when they’re talking or eating. They are unaware of what’s normal and what isn’t.
Once you do know about the tooth extraction healing stages, day by day, you’ll have a much smooth recovery experience. Moreover, you will know what to expect in the coming weeks so you’ll be ready for it.
What Happens During the Tooth Extraction Healing Stages?
In the world of dentistry, tooth extraction is one of the relatively “simplest” procedures. Once that’s over with, you need to make sure that you are looking after your extraction site during the healing process. There are several stages that you will pass through at different times during the recovery. Keep in mind the healing stages can vary depending on the kind of procedure you had.
First 24 Hours After Tooth Extraction
If you had a simple, uncomplicated tooth extraction(s), you will bleed from the socket. However, during the first 24 hours after the tooth extractions, the healing of the gum tissue will begin. If there was a surgical intervention in the tooth extraction, usually takes place if they’re impacted wisdom teeth, you will feel more pain during the first 24 hours. This happens when the anaesthesia starts to wear off. Other than that, you will have swelling.
A blood clot will form in the socket, which will stop further bleeding. Platelets, together with fibrin protein, form a plug in the socket of the extracted tooth. This blood clot will stay with you during the healing process. However, it will change form as the recovery progresses.
Do’s & Don’ts In the First 24 Hours
Over-the-counter pain relievers can help; however, you should ask your dentist about pain medication if it’s not manageable. Normally, you will have prescription painkillers. Make sure to take these. Your dentist might also give you antibiotics.
During the first 24 hours, you should not eat anything hard. Make sure that you eat soft foods that are more liquid-y. This doesn’t include alcohol. You have to avoid that for at least a few days. The food also shouldn’t be too hot as it can increase blood flow to the extraction site. Try eating yoghurt, eggs, pudding, mashed potatoes, ice cream, beans, and bananas.
It’s better if you take the day off after getting the tooth extracted. Try to keep your head elevated, even when you’re sleeping. You can also apply an ice pack for 10-15 minutes. This can help reduce swelling. Avoid smoking and/or vaping. It can reduce the blood flow to the extraction area, and you need it for healing, especially after oral surgery. Lastly, do not try any strenuous activity. If something hits your mouth, it can make the tooth socket bleed.
2-3 Days After Tooth Extraction
After the first 24 hours, it is okay for you to rinse your mouth using salt water (make sure you use warm water). Do this gently as it can dislodge the blood clot and prolong healing time. At this stage, your tooth socket should not actively bleed. You will also notice a reduction in the wound site. You may still have some tenderness, swelling, and soreness in the extraction site.
Do’s & Don’ts In the 2-3 Day After Extraction
You should still take a rest. Also, it’s time that you change the gauze. You still need to make sure that you’re keeping your head elevated. Besides these things, you should continue eating soft foods. Do not use a straw or spit as it can put pressure on the wound. Even blowing the nose or sneezing can do the same, so be gentle.
You can start brushing and flossing your teeth but avoid the areas near the tooth extractions. Moreover, continue taking the medications that your dentist prescribed to counter pain and risk of infection.
1 Week After Tooth Extraction
A week or two after, you’ll notice that the extraction site is mostly healed (recovery timeline can vary depending on the type and size of the tooth). The diameter of the socket will have shrunk significantly. A week after the extraction, you may notice something white in the empty socket. It is the granulation tissue, which is made up of white blood cells, collagen, and blood vessels. It’s a sign that your wound is healing normally.
The purpose of granulation tissue is to protect the wound from any further injury. If the granulation tissue or the blood clot on the socket falls/doesn’t develop, you may get a dry socket. Not only does this cause pain, but also leave a bad taste in the mouth. It can also cause bad breath.
Do’s & Don’ts 1-2 Weeks After Extraction
You can resume your routine activities. However, you still have to be careful about the tooth extraction site. Be gentle around the area when brushing or flossing. At this time, you can relax a little because you are far along in the healing process.
3-4 Weeks After Tooth Extraction
Many people wonder, “how long does a tooth extraction hole take to close.” At this point, the socket may have closed up. If not, it may take a couple more weeks. However, the jawbone inside can take almost 4 months to heal completely. On the outside, you might see a small indent in the area of the extraction site. This indent is because the bone will take some more time to heal. Make sure that during the recovery, you visit your dental surgeon for a regular checkup.
Do’s & Don’ts 3-4 Weeks After Extraction
You can do things normally at this point. It may feel “weird”, and you may have slight tenderness when you eat hard foods, but, all in all, you should be good. Make sure to take good care of your oral health. If you’re planning to get dental implants or crowns, you may have to wait for a few months. Talk to your doctor about this.
Healing After Multiple Tooth Extractions
In this case, the dental surgeon may give you clotting aids to stop the bleeding from multiple sockets in your mouth. After the procedure, you have to take even more care of your mouth.
The dentist will guide you about special aftercare instructions in this case. Similarly, if you have had wisdom teeth removal, you may need dissolvable stitches or clotting aids to help with the bleeding. The healing time is more in these cases.
Potential Complications During Tooth Extraction Healing Stages
During the healing time, you need to keep an eye out for possible complications. If you have any of these problems, call our aftercare team right away:
- Worsening of pain and swelling at the extraction site
- Active bleeding from the wound 24 hours after the extraction
- High fever, nausea and/or vomiting
- Severe pain that spreads to the ears
- Foul-smelling drainage from the extraction site
- Bad taste in the mouth that won’t go away
- Dry socket
If you don’t experience any of these complications after the surgery, you’re likely to heal within 2 weeks. However, keep an eye out for these.
How You Can Speed Up Tooth Extraction Recovery Process
There are a few things that you can do to speed up the recovery process.
Take Your Medication
First and foremost, take the medicines that your dentist prescribes to you. This includes pain medications and antibiotics. Aspirin is a blood thinner, so don’t take that as it will delay clotting and healing.
Don’t Poke Around
It’s almost fun to poke the extraction side with the tip of the tongue. That’s because the area’s really soft and mushy. You should definitely resist the urge to do so. You can dislodge the blood clot. Moreover, do not touch the area with your fingers. It may cause an infection.
Eat & Drink Carefully
Avoid hard, crispy, crunchy or pointy foods in the first week or so. Try eating in small portions, even soft foods, so that you don’t chew much. Do not drink alcohol or smoke. Lastly, drink plenty of water as it helps in flushing out toxins from the body.
Rinse Your Mouth with Salt Water
For that, mix half a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. This will remove food particles from the mouth after you’ve had a meal. Moreover, it can help reduce swelling and the risk of infection.
To Summarize the Above
If you’ve had your teeth pulled, you might be in the dark about a lot of things. Many people don’t know what to expect. That is why it is important to know about the different tooth extraction healing stages. If you notice that something’s not right, you should get in touch with Longevita Aftercare.