How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Tooth Extraction?

Having a tooth pulled can be a scary proposition. However, modern dentistry has made this process easier than it was in your parents’ time, and your recovery can be faster and less painful than you expect.

At Westchester Smile Design in Yonkers, New York, our team of dental specialists can prepare you for the tooth extraction process and let you know what to expect as you recover from your oral surgery

Reasons for tooth extraction

There are many reasons you might need to have a tooth extracted, including:

If your tooth extraction is simple, your recovery might only take a few days. If it is a complex extraction, like an impacted molar, your recovery may take a little longer.

The recovery process

Once your dentist extracts your tooth and you are allowed to return home, your recovery begins. You’ll want to take at least one day off of work, and have your extraction done on a Thursday or Friday if possible. Here’s what you’ll be facing for the average extraction:

Initial bleeding and clot formation

Your extraction site will bleed for a while. Your dentist packs it with gauze before you leave the office, and instructs you to bite down gently. A clot should form in the hole where your tooth used to be. You’ll need to be extra careful not to dislodge this clot, or you’ll end up with dry socket, a very painful condition that will lengthen your recovery time. 

Dry socket

If the clot doesn’t form or gets dislodged before the healing process has a chance to start, you’ll be in a world of hurt. Follow these tips for avoiding dry socket:

Don’t make sucking motions with your mouth

Dry socket is more common in smokers and chewers because chewing tobacco or sucking on a cigarette can dislodge a clot. Avoid sucking on straws as a drinking method. 

Rinse, don’t swish

Swishing your mouth with saltwater or mouthwash can dislodge or dissolve a clot. You can disinfect your mouth by holding some saltwater in your mouth, then opening your mouth to let it drain into the sink. Repeat with fresh water. 

Work around your birth control

If you use oral contraceptives, schedule your extraction during a low hormone week. High estrogen levels can increase your risk of a clot not forming properly.

Managing pain during extraction recovery

Your dentist prescribes pain medication at your extraction appointment, so pick it up on the way home. Use it as directed, even if your pain level doesn’t get too bad. If you skip a dose and the pain breaks through, it may be hard to get it under control again. If needed, you can use ice wrapped in a cloth on the outside of your jaw for extra relief.

The healing process

After a few days have passed, you’ll be feeling a lot better and able to discontinue prescribed pain medication. You may want to continue with over the counter meds for several more days. New tissue will form and help fill in the hole. You can discuss tooth replacement options with your dentist to keep the teeth on either side from sliding into the gap and changing your bite.

Don’t be afraid of having a tooth extracted. Our team will be with you throughout the procedure and recovery — we’re just a phone call away. If you need a tooth extracted, contact our office at 914-200-3962 to schedule your appointment.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Smile Flaws Can Invisalign® Correct?

Bye-bye, braces. Invisalign® straightens your teeth and corrects your bite without adding a single piece of metal to your mouth. Oh, and it does all this while being virtually invisible, too.

The Many Benefits of Dental Implants

Your active lifestyle is important to you, so when joint pain strikes, you want a solution that doesn’t simply mask the problem. Meet regenerative medicine, which heals your body naturally from the inside out.