When is a tooth extraction necessary? Procedure, recovery, and aftercare

Nichole McKenna

Written by Nichole McKenna DDS, Eric Moryoussef DDS, Jack Lawrence DMD, Matthew Stewart DDS, Benjamin Joy DDS

Tooth extraction may be a necessity for anyone at some point. Pulling a tooth, however, is always the last resort. Dentists will do everything they can to save it. No restoration is as durable as natural dentition. But sometimes there is no alternative.

This guide will help you figure out whether you might need tooth extraction, what the process is like, and what to do afterwards.

Need tooth extraction?

Find a top-rated tooth extraction dentist near you.

Reasons for tooth extraction

Limited dental exam

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Types of tooth extraction

Simple tooth extraction

Single tooth extraction

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Surgical tooth extraction

Surgical tooth extraction

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Tooth extraction recovery

Provided that you follow your dentist’s instructions, there is a high chance that your extraction will heal just fine. You may experience some worrying symptoms, but they are a part of the process.

Here is what you can expect: some bleeding, minor swelling, white tissue forming in the affected area, and pain around the tooth socket.

Day by day tooth extraction healing may be slightly different for each patient. Generally, bleeding should stop around 48 hours after the procedure. If you continue to bleed after this period, schedule a follow-up appointment.

Swelling and soreness is common for about 3 days. Take medication according to your dental professional’s instructions. If the pain continues for longer, schedule another visit.

Tooth extraction aftercare step-by-step

Medication on tongue

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Proper tooth extraction aftercare can prevent unnecessary discomfort and complications. There are certain things you should do immediately, and some you should continue for a twenty-four hour period after your procedure.

Here are some dos and don'ts after tooth extraction immediately after you leave the office:

  • Take painkillers according to your dentist’s instructions. A common drug is ibuprofen, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Try to keep the gauze pad in place for about 3-4 hours.
  • If you experience discomfort or pain, apply an ice bag to the extraction area. Keep it in place for no more than 10 minutes at a time to avoid tissue damage.
  • Bite on moistened tea bags to help constrict blood vessels.
  • When sleeping, prop your head up on pillows. Laying flat can make the healing slower.

Tooth extraction near me

FAQ

The whole thing usually takes about an hour. You may have to take an oral sedative or be hooked up to an IV 60 minutes before the procedure starts. Higher forms of sedation also mean you might feel drowsy the next day.

Generally, tooth extraction pain should stop around 48 hours after the procedure. You may feel some tenderness for up to 3 days after you leave the office.

Complications take place when you don’t follow dentists’ instructions closely. Sometimes they may happen if you’re simply unlucky. Either way, you should be aware of the signs that point to a problem, namely nerve damage, infection, and dry socket.

If tooth extraction pain pain lasts for longer than 3 days or if you lose the sense of touch or taste, you could be at risk of nerve damage. Contact your dentist as soon as possible. Preventative antibiotics are controversial, but they’re a popular solution to possible infections.

If a patient who recently had a tooth removed uses straws or brushes the surgical area aggressively, the blood clot can become dislodged. Professional treatment is not necessary, a new blood clot should form. Nonetheless, it is very uncomfortable.

The first thing you’ll notice is a red blood clot forming. After that, the soft tissue will begin the granulation process, making it appear creamy white.

The blood clot should begin forming the same day. A full recovery may take a few weeks, but after about 2, you shouldn’t feel any difference and can begin eating as you normally did.

There is no contraindication to eating immediately after tooth extractions, but you are unlikely to have an appetite. Stick to a liquid or soft diet for up to a week. Some great foods to eat after tooth extraction are canned fruit, baked vegetables, and smoothies.

After about 7-10 days you can start adding eggs and meats to your diet. When 2 weeks have gone by, even sticky and crunchy treats are acceptable.