Tooth Extraction Healing Timeline

Tooth loss is generally something dentists want to avoid unless necessary as a last resort. However, certain cases necessitate tooth extraction, such as impacted wisdom teeth, dental trauma, infection, severe tooth decay, gum disease, or overcrowded teeth. 

After having a tooth extracted, you can expect to heal within 1-2 weeks, but this varies on a case by case basis. In this blog from Woburn Dental Associates, we’re detailing the entire healing process following an extraction so read on to learn more.

The Stages of Healing

The first 24 hours - The first 24 hours after extraction are important, as this is when a blood clot will start to form at the extraction site. Blood clots are vital to your healing and protect your bone and nerve tissue. 

Since you just underwent oral surgery, bleeding is to be expected, and possibly a little swelling. You will be given gauze to bite down on for 30 minutes right after your surgery to stop the bleeding. You may still be numb from anesthesia so refrain from eating or drinking hot liquids until this wears off. If you have been sedated, you may need to get a ride home.

24-48 hours - Swelling will peak 2-3 days following the extraction. You can use a cold compress alternating between 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, while keeping your head elevated to reduce the swelling. Some continual bleeding is still normal but ideally, at this point, there should be blood clots in place at the extraction site. 

Make sure to regularly change your gauze every 3-4 hours or if they are becoming soaked with blood. You should dampen fresh gauze before placing them at the socket or bite into a damp caffeinated tea bag. 

Take any prescribed or over-the-counter anti-pain medication to reduce discomfort and pain. However, take something like ibuprofen instead of aspirin, as aspirin may increase bleeding.

72 hours - Your tooth's socket should be mostly healed and the bleeding should be mostly gone. Swelling will have subsided though you may still feel tender around the socket. Be careful not to dislodge your blood clot, which can lead to a dry socket. The gum tissue should be closing around the socket.

7-10 days - Unless your extraction was more complicated or involved the rear molars, you can expect this to be the final hurdle in your healing journey. The hole left behind at the socket should be mostly closed, though in some cases healing can take up to 2-3 weeks.

How to Speed up Recovery

If you notice excessive bleeding, pus, fever, or swelling that gets worse after a few days, you should contact your dentist right away. It’s important to keep your mouth clean but also take care not to dislodge your blood clots. 

These aftercare tips will reduce your risk of developing a dry socket or infection while speeding up your healing time:

  • Gently swish around a saline rinse after the first 24 hours
  • To dispel liquids from the mouth, lean over a sink instead of spitting
  • Clean your teeth like normal but avoid the extraction site
  • Eat very soft foods while healing
  • Avoid chewy, sticky, or hard foods
  • Chew on the opposite side of your mouth
  • Rest for the first 24 hours
  • Elevate your head when sleeping
  • Avoid hot liquids and foods
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Do not suck out of a straw or spit

Tooth Extractions at Woburn Dental Associates

At Woburn Dental Associates, we perform tooth extractions on wisdom teeth that aren’t coming in properly or any other teeth that have become damaged or are negatively impacting your health. We also offer tooth replacement options such as dental implants or dentures. To find out more about extraction or tooth replacement, contact us at Woburn Dental Associates or schedule a consultation today.

Overdue for a Dental Visit?

Schedule an Appointment Online

Book Now