What’s a Normal Tooth Extraction Healing Time?

What's a Normal Tooth Extraction Healing Time?

Are you feeling nervous about getting a tooth pulled? There’s no need! With these tips, you’ll heal in no time.

No one wants to get a tooth extracted, but sometimes it must be done. If a tooth is so severely decayed that it cannot be saved by a filling, crown, or root canal, it must be removed. Likewise, a badly broken tooth will most likely need to be pulled. Gum disease can also cause a tooth to loosen and require extraction. 

In the past, the thought of a tooth extraction would make people panic. But with today’s medical advancements, there is nothing to fear! Modern techniques and anesthesia make the procedure as painless as possible. But you will still need to go through a recovery period. Here’s what an average healing time looks like after tooth extraction.

After the extraction: the do’s and don’ts

A typical recovery period is between seven to 10 days. The most discomfort you’ll feel is during the first 48 hours after the extraction. That’s also the time you’ll need to take the most care to boost healing and lessen pain. Here are some do’s and don’ts for those first two days:

Do leave the gauze pad on the wound. After the extraction, your dentist will place a gauze pad on the site. Keep the gauze on for at least 24 hours after the procedure. This is important because the gauze helps form a blood clot that will protect the bone and tissue. If the clot is dislodged, a painful dry socket will develop. 

Do rest. Rest the day after and limit any strenuous activities.

Do apply an ice pack. Ice can tamp down swelling and pain, but leave it on for only 10 minutes.

Do take pain reducers. Your doctor may give you a prescription for pain, or you can take over-the-counter pain medicine.

Do raise your head when lying down. Lying flat prolongs healing. 

Do eat a soft diet. Yogurt, applesauce, pudding, and soup are good choices. 

Don’t smoke or drink through a straw. The sucking action can displace the blood clot. While on a soft diet, you can have smoothies, but use a spoon instead of a straw to consume. 

Don’t rinse or spit. Like smoking and drinking through a straw, rinsing and spitting may dislodge the clot.

Don’t eat “chewy” foods. Foods such as nuts, hard candies, and steak that require a lot of chewing and sucking action are not recommended. Also, avoid chewing on ice.

After day three, the site should heal enough so you can rinse with salt and warm water to prevent an infection. At this time, you should also notice a dramatic reduction in pain. You can brush and floss but avoid the extraction area. As the healing continues, you can incorporate more solid foods into your diet.

Within a week to 10 days, a layer of granulation tissue will form over the site. This tissue protects the area until new bone mass can grow.

If the pain intensifies, contact your dentist. Other symptoms to look for include fever, increased swelling, ear pain, or foul-smelling drainage from the site.

Two weeks after the extraction, you’ll have a follow-up visit with your dentist to review how well the site has healed. Then, it’s time to replace the missing tooth with an implant, bridge, or denture. Soon, you’ll have a complete set of teeth once again!

Need a tooth pulled? See Espire Dental.

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Oklahoma City location today! Our highly trained dentists can make your tooth extraction and other dental procedures as painless as possible. Don’t live near our Oklahoma City office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Oklahoma City, OK
12448 St Andrews Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73120