Having a tooth pulled is never fun. In fact, tooth extractions are something most dentists try to avoid at all costs. Keeping your natural teeth for as long as possible is always the goal, but unfortunately, there are cases where it simply cannot be avoided, so as a last resort, the tooth must come out. If you’re facing this reality, you can expect your skilled team of dentists to ensure you are comfortable throughout the procedure. But what about recovery? Let us explain how long you can expect the healing process to take, as well as provide 7 tips to proper tooth extraction recovery.
Why Do I Need a Tooth Pulled?
As we previously mentioned, your dentist will only perform a tooth extraction if it’s absolutely necessary. Some instances where that might be the case include:
- Your child’s baby teeth have not fallen out, and in order for the permanent ones to come through, extraction must occur.
- Wisdom teeth removal.
- Preparing your teeth for orthodontic treatment or other dental work.
- Teeth that have not pushed through the gum line.
- Teeth that are experiencing severe decay or are damaged and causing problems with the dental structure.
How Long Will It Take to Recover?
Depending on the severity of the problem and what type of extraction you’re having, the recovery process can vary. Different types of extractions include:
- Wisdom teeth extraction: These third molars are often removed to prevent overcrowding, infection, decay or additional oral health problems.
- Multiple tooth extraction: If you have teeth that are injured, extremely decayed, or if genetics is playing a role in your poor oral health, you may need to have multiple teeth extracted. It can also be that you are preparing to have braces and require some teeth to be removed to make room for your shifting teeth.
- Extraction site preservation: Once you have missing teeth, it’s imperative that you restore it with dental implants. But if you don’t have enough bone support, it may be necessary to perform an extraction site preservation, so the bone can be fortified around your missing tooth.
In most cases, you can expect the healing process to take one to two weeks.
What Are Some Tips to Remember During the Recovery Process?
To ensure you have a successful recovery process, you’ll receive specific instructions for at-home care. Some tips to follow include:
- Apply gentle bite pressure to the gauze that is on your extraction site. This will reduce the amount of bleeding.
- Choose softer foods in the days after your procedure, and avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the tooth was extracted.
- Don’t immediately jump back into work. At a minimum, take two days off to rest.
- If the pain is too much to bear, you can take a mild painkiller that will be prescribed to you. Use as instructed.
- Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Do not drink through a straw in the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Avoid brushing the area where the extraction occurred, but make sure to maintain good oral healthcare.
If having a tooth pulled is something you cannot avoid, make sure to follow these tips. If you do, you’ll have a successful recovery, and before you know it, you’ll be talking to your dentist about restoring those vacated spots with a fully restored smile.
About the Author
Dr. Sean Moriarty attended Penn State before enrolling at the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University where he earned his Doctorate in Dental Medicine. Dr. Moriarty became a full-time dentist in 2006, and he has since completed more than 100 hours of continuing education on a yearly basis. He and his colleagues at Ephrata Family Dentistry provide comprehensive services to help their patients achieve brighter, more beautiful smiles. Whether it’s a general cleaning, dental crown, or tooth extraction, he and his team will work to help you regain the smile and confidence you deserve. To learn more, contact us via our website or by calling (717) 733-1088.