Maybe you just had one of your tooth extraction, it necessary that you should know how long it will take for the socket to heal. It’s true that the extraction site takes time to heal. Within the first few days after the extraction, it’s advisable that you should not go to work or school. Moreover, tooth extraction healing time will vary from patient to patient depending on certain factors. If the blood clot that formed around the wound becomes dislodged very soon or the wound becomes infected, recovery may take longer time than expected.
This page covers how different factors can affect the healing time and also how you can speed up healing process.
Factors that can affect tooth extraction healing time.
- Wound size: normally, the healing process and time is supposed to generally be the same for any extraction. More larger, deeper or wider wound at the extraction site might take longer time to fully heal than comparative smaller ones.
- Location of the tooth: the location and nature of the tooth really matters. For an example, the healing time for surgically removed wisdom tooth will require longer time than someone who just pulled his lower incisor or baby tooth. (1)
- Patient’s health condition: the health condition of the patient that just extracted his or her tooth also matters. Patients suffering from diabetes might take longer time to heal, there might be need for special treatments for their body tissues to heal properly.
- Patient’s compliance with aftercare instructions: immediately after the extraction procedure, the dentist or surgeon will have to give you a list of instructions that you must follow in order to heal properly. Your compliance with the instructions and after care can affect the healing time and process.
How long it takes to recover from an extraction
One, more thing there are two other factors that I failed to mention earlier. I don’t know if you are aware that there are numerous types of tooth extraction. The tooth extraction method that was used to remove your tooth can affect the healing time. This are the two basic categories of tooth extraction:
- Simple extraction: the simple tooth extraction technique involves loosening and pulling of the affected teeth with the use of specialized levers known as elevators and forceps. The recovery process after simple extraction is usually very brief as it involves less tissue damage.
- Surgical extraction: during the surgical extraction procedure, the dentist or surgeon will have to make a small incision on the gums and jawbone supporting the affected tooth. The recovery time and process is a bit longer as it involves more tissue damage.
Whatever the extraction method may be, the dentist will likely recommend that a patient should take the first 48-72 hours easy, so as to allow the formation of blood clot over the wound.
However, the tooth extraction healing time is a gradual process, the patient should see some improvement every day. So, am going to break the recovery time into different stages for better understanding.
First 24 hours after the extraction
Immediately after the extraction, the fresh empty socket will be fill with blood up to the level of the gum tissue surrounding it. At this stage the formation of blood clot will begin. The blood clot is composed of platelets, red and white blood cells, it forms a semi – solid covering over the wound. Within the first 24 hours, the clot should form properly and the bleeding from your wound should stop. The traumatized gum tissues surrounding the empty socket may appear whitish in color.
At the particular stage, the body won’t do much healing. You will not experience any pain or discomfort either, the effects of the anesthetic would still be very much active.
2 – 3 days after the extraction
You will experience swelling both in the tissues that surround your extraction site and possibly your face too. The swelling and discomforts should be at its peak within the first 2 to 3 after the extraction. Although, the swelling and discomforts will start to subside, after the first 48 – 72 hours.
4 – 6 day after the extraction
Between the range of these first few days, the gum tissue that surrounds your extraction would start to heal more rapidly. Slight pain would still be felt at this stage, your extraction area should look much improved causing little or no pain and discomforts. Within this period you can resume work or school, but you will need to be mindful of the extraction site.
7 days after the extraction
At the seventh day, the gum tissues that surrounds the extraction site should have undergone a significant amount of repair. The hole of the wound will start to become smaller than the initial size due to the development of new body tissues. At this point, certain others discomforts such as jaw stiffness and soreness should go away completely. You will have to go back to the dentist so that he can remove any remaining stitches at the extraction site.
2 weeks and above after the extraction
At this particular period of time, you will no longer feel any pain or discomfort at all. The diameter of the empty socket should have reduced drastically. The surrounding gums may heal and cover the socket completely by the end of two weeks. You can can view the image below to understand more on tooth extraction healing time and process.
Tips to speed up the recovery
The formation of blood clot over the extraction site is an essential part of the healing process. The blood clot helps to prevent bleeding, it protects the wound against infection, it allows new tissue growth and also offers protection to the exposed bone.(2) You should try as much as possible not to dislodge the blood clot in the first 24 hours after the extraction. Here are some of tips on how to ensure a speedy recovery from an extraction.
- Avoid the use a straw, mouth rinse or spit for the first 24 hours so as to allow proper formation of the blood clot.
- Do not brush, floss, or chew anything next to the extraction site for the first few days.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks or smoking, as they may increases the chances of developing an infection.
- Take only the medications that were recommended by the dentist after the extraction procedure.
- Prevent the formation of dry socket by limiting your physical activity in order not to dislodge the clot. If possible, don’t go to work or school within the first 3 days after the extraction.
- Avoid hard foods, eat soft foods that requires little or no chewing for the first few days.
- You can apply an ice pack as directed against the extraction site to reduce the pain and swelling. Hold an ice pack on your face right above the extraction site for about 15 minutes, it will reduce the pain and swelling, most especially within the 2-3 days after the extraction.
- Within the first few days, you may try rraising your head when sleeping to feel more comfortable. Keeping your head in an elevated position will help to reduce bleeding and discomforts.
With proper aftercare, recovery after an extraction takes around 2 weeks. Apart from the surrounding body tissues, the amount of time it will takes for bone healing will greatly depend on the size of the original wound. It may take up to three months or more for the underlying bone at the extraction site to heal completely. Without proper after care, a patient may develop an infection at the empty socket.
Certain symptoms of an infection includes increased pain and swelling, you may also notice yellow or white pus around the wound. An infection or dislodged blood clot can make the healing process to take longer than expected. If the pain continues to become more intense instead of getting better, you should go back and see your dentist.