Your dentist may prescribe a tooth extraction to remove impacted wisdom teeth, teeth damaged by decay, trauma, or gum disease, or to create space on your dental arch before undergoing orthodontic treatment.
As the anesthesia wears off and your mouth begins to heal you may experience some of the following temporary side effects:
No matter the reason for your tooth extraction, you may be wondering what to expect post-op and how long it will take to recover. Here’s what to expect in the first 24 hours after a tooth extraction.
How Long Does the Pain Last After Extraction?
The amount of discomfort you experience after a tooth extraction depends on whether you had a simple extraction where the dental crown was above the surface of your gum or a complex extraction where your dentist cuts open your gum and removes the tooth in sections. The more involved the procedure the longer it will take you to recover and heal.
Following an extraction your dentist will ask you to bite down on a gauze pad to apply direct pressure to the site. While you can expect some bleeding for the first 24 hours, it typically dissipates as the blood clot begins to form.
For most patients, the pain is significantly less by day three. After about a week, granulation tissue forms to protect the socket until bone can form there.
The First 24 Hours
The first 24-48 hours after extraction is when the most aftercare is needed. The blood clot begins to form, and if you receive sutures, they help the tissue heal. You will experience some pain and minor bleeding and swelling tends to peak at around 24 hours. Here are some tips:
- Leave the gauze in your mouth for a few hours to allow the blood clot to form. You can change it as needed. It is normal to see traces of blood in your saliva.
- Rest for at least 24 hours and elevate your head when lying down.
- Apply an ice pack to your cheek at 20-minute intervals to reduce swelling.
- Avoid rinsing your mouth, spitting, smoking, or drinking through a straw because this can dislodge your blood clot and cause a painful secondary condition called dry socket.
- Take prescribed pain relievers which can help reduce inflammation, but avoid aspirin because it thins the blood and slows the blood clotting process.
- Eat a soft diet of foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, and cool soup. Avoid hot foods and alcohol.
- Brush your teeth but avoid the extraction site.
Recovery can take about 10-14 days, so if you experience any of the following symptoms, contact our practice as soon as possible to be assessed.
- Gum swelling gets worse
- Pain is getting worse and has spread to the ear
- Numbness in your mouth
- You have a fever
- You are nauseous and vomiting
- No blood clot forms, and the site is still bleeding
- Foul tasting and smelling drainage from the site
Know What to Expect and Follow Your Dentist’s Post-Op Instructions
The specifics of your recovery will depend on your oral health, the number of teeth extracted, and the complexity of the extraction. Following your dentist’s aftercare directions will help you recover quicker.
Contact Blue Island Smiles for assistance if you think you need a tooth extraction or have any questions about your recovery.