Many people find that the tooth extraction healing process is much more dreadful than the actual tooth pulling itself. There will be quite a lot of pain and discomfort, plus some odd sensations as your mouth gets accustomed to the loss.
But, tooth extraction is a fairly common procedure that rarely has any serious complications. So, set your nerves at ease and read our Dental Dork’s guide covering what to expect during tooth removal recovery.
Tooth Extraction Recovery
In general, a tooth extraction takes just over a week to heal. Sometimes it can take up to 2 weeks if you’re a slow healer or have a minor infection, but very rarely will you need to suffer from tooth extraction pain for longer than the first few hours.
During the healing process, the gap where your tooth was will slowly recover. Your gums and sometimes bone too will grow and fill in the gap, called the socket. You might experience bleeding at first, and over the week scabs might loosen where the blood has clotted inside the socket.
As for the pain, this is usually topical to the area where the tooth was extracted and can be eased with general painkillers including Paracetamol, Tylenol, Advil, and Ibuprofen. Your dentist might give you topical anesthetics to numb the worst of the pain. Other than that, there are some home remedies that have been proven to help.
Different Tooth Extractions
The exact healing process and pain will depend on the tooth you have removed. Generally, the larger the tooth that was removed, the longer the healing period will be. Multiple sockets at once may also take longer, simply because your mouth is trying to heal a larger area in one go.
Baby teeth, molars, premolars, incisors, canines and wisdom teeth will all take between 1 week and 2 weeks to heal. Wisdom teeth will take closer to 2 weeks, and baby teeth will be the quickest to heal in just 1 week. The rest fall in-between.
The Healing Process
This is what you can expect during the tooth removal healing process.
First 24 Hours
The dentist may give you something to bite on and painkillers to take once the anesthetic wears off. Your speech may be slurred and you’ll be unable to swallow if your tongue is numb.
Bleeding should stop after a couple of hours at most. There will be a clot forming in the socket – you might be able to feel it with your tongue but resist the urge to keep prodding it.
READ MORE: How to make your teeth strong!
Once the first 24 hours have gone by, you will be able to eat soft foods again. Although, it’s wise to avoid using a straw for the first few days as the pressure of sucking can pull off clots.
Soup and yogurt are good foods to try. The clot in your socket will eventually fall off once the gum has grown over the exposed bone. If it falls off too early or doesn’t form at all, you have a dry socket and need to go back to your dentist.
The pain should be gone, but you might feel a little discomfort still.
Once the pain has gone and the socket has healed up, you may still feel a little odd. The new gum may be sensitive and your jaw may ache a little bit still.
Everything should be healed up nicely. It will take time getting used to having a gap in your mouth.
1 Month Later
Over time, your teeth may start to move around in your mouth. The gap may get smaller. If this makes it difficult to chew, head back to the dentists. Otherwise, the tooth pulling and healing process is complete and you’re ready to go back to harder foods.
What Symptoms to Expect
These are the usual symptoms that you can expect after tooth removal:
- Pain for the first day after the anesthetic wears off.
- Bleeding for the first 4 hours.
- Gum swelling and sensitivity.
- Jaw and headaches.
These symptoms are unusual, but nothing to worry about:
- Bone fragments working their way out of the socket. This is often quite shocking but normal in the first week after extraction. If the bone or tooth fragments don’t work their way out naturally, see your dentist to have them removed.
- Dry socket – the gum doesn’t heal over the bone, so it is left exposed. It may clear up quickly by forming another scab or you may need to see your dentist for treatment. They will usually dress the socket and give you something for the pain.
If you see any of these symptoms, it’s best to go back to the dentist as you may have an infection or clotting problem:
- Continued, excessive bleeding for 6+ hours.
- Nausea or a fever.
- Unpleasant smells, tastes or oozes from the socket.
- Radiating pain that lasts for several days.
3 Remedies to Alleviate Tooth Removal Pain
Whether you’ve run out of painkillers or are just looking for a more natural, drug-free way to ease the pain and heal the socket, these 3 remedies are ideal.
- Salt water rinses. Great for helping the socket to heal up in record time. Use 1 teaspoon of salt in warm water once or twice daily after the initial 24 hours. Not only will this gently remove anything lingering in the socket, but it will also soothe the gums rather than inflaming them like some mouthwashes.
- When applying ice, you will numb the gums and the surrounding area. Press the ice against the side of your mouth or let it rest inside your mouth – don’t suck the ice, it will have the same effect as sucking on a straw in the first 24 hours. Don’t apply ice for more than 10 minutes at a time.
- Clove oil. This will relieve the pain in your gums when gently rubbed on. Use a Q-tip to very softly apply the oil around the tooth extraction area. Don’t poke into the socket as this might dislodge a clot or inflame the area.
Tooth Extraction Recovery FAQ
3 common questions you may have after the tooth extraction process. Pain and discomfort are normal, but please do consult your dentist if you notice any odd symptoms during tooth extraction healing.
Question: Can you use Orajel after having a tooth pulled?
Answer: Yes, this is a topical anesthetic that’s ideal for painful gums. It will soothe the pain quicker than most capsule painkillers.
Question: How long does it take for a dry socket to go away?
Answer: If left untreated it can take several weeks or a month to completely heal. This isn’t an infection, so don’t take antibiotics. A topical anesthetic or painkiller may be advisable to soothe the pain – consult your dentist.
Question: How long does it take for a cut in the gums to heal?
Answer: It depends on the cut and the location. It can usually take up to 2 weeks to heal unless the cut continues to re-open or becomes infected.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.