How Long Does It Take for a Tooth Extraction to Heal?
If you’ve ever experienced toothache, you’ll know all too well just how painful it can be. Those who have suffered with toothache in the past will tell you that it’s one of the worst pains they have felt. Sometimes, the only treatment option available that can relieve the pain is extraction of the tooth itself.
Tooth extraction surgery may sound extreme, but sometimes it is the only option. Your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction for the following reasons:
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal and gum disease
- Tooth overcrowding
No matter the reason, If you’re having a tooth or multiple teeth removed you will likely be wondering how long it will take for the tooth extraction site to heal, and what can be done to speed up the process of healing.
How long for a tooth extraction site to heal?
If you’re due to have any teeth removed, naturally you’ll be concerned about how long it takes for the area to heal. Having a tooth removed can be a painful dental procedure to recover from, so naturally the sooner you can make a full recovery, the better.
The time it takes to heal completely from a tooth extraction depends on the location and type of tooth as well as your body's healing abilities. In general, It takes between one and three months for your gum tissues and bone to heal completely following an extraction .
However, the good news is that most people find that within 1 – 5 days the pain has subsided and they’re able to get back on their feet and get back to normal.
Tooth extraction healing timeline - What to expect
The tooth extraction healing process is different for each individual person. Some people experience minor discomfort following the procedure, while others experience severe discomfort. Here is what you can expect after undergoing extraction surgery.
First 24 hours
Several things will happen in the first 24 hours after your tooth has been extracted. Blood clots will form, and the sutures in your mouth will aid in the healing process.
During the first 24 hours of the recovery process, you may most likely suffer some minor pain and bleeding. To help you get through this, you'll usually be given a prescription for a painkiller.
Within a day of surgery, you should be able to resume non-strengthening activities like driving and working an office job. Athletic activities, on the other hand, may be restricted, and individuals in physically demanding jobs may need to take additional time off.
1-2 days post tooth extraction
The first two days following your extraction require the most attention, as this is when your mouth is undergoing intense healing. It's very normal to have some bleeding and stiffness at the extraction site.
3 days post tooth extraction
The empty tooth socket will have mostly healed after around 3 days. There should be no further bleeding and very minor swelling at this stage. You may still feel some tenderness or soreness, but no pain or discomfort should be present.
1 week post tooth extraction
Your clot should be fully formed and in place after 7-10 days. If your stitches were non-dissolving, they will be removed. They'll dissolve on their own if they're dissolving stitches. If you are experiencing discomfort or bleeding at this point in the healing process, call your dentist to see if you need to schedule a follow-up appointment.
2 weeks post tooth extraction
The sockets will be virtually totally healed after around 14 days. At the extraction site, however, the tissue will be tender and sensitive. Avoid chewing too much food near the extraction site and avoid brushing this tissue too much. Even when your socket is nearly healed, there is still a danger of infection or damaging the new gum tissue that has formed.
3+ weeks post tooth extraction
The healing process is essentially complete after 3-4 weeks. You may still experience some sensitivity at the extraction site, but this should not result in major pain or bleeding.
At this point, all you have to do is avoid allowing food or debris to accumulate in your empty socket, which means cleaning and flossing properly, as well as irrigating the socket to eliminate debris if required.
Tips on recovering from tooth extraction surgery
Now that you know how long it will take to recover after you have a tooth or teeth removed, the next thing to look at is how to recover from tooth extraction surgery.
Listen to your dentist’s advice
One of the most important things you can do when healing from tooth extraction surgery, is to listen to the advice of your dentist and follow the post extraction advice.
If your dentist tells you not to eat certain foods for a certain number of days, then be sure to do as they have asked. If they tell you to take it easy for 2 days, you will need to make appropriate arrangements to make sure you are not doing any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for those 2 days.
Stop any bleeding
Without sounding too dramatic, tooth extraction surgery can sometimes lead to bleeding and swelling, not only during the procedure but afterwards as well. Some people find that they bleed more than others. If you fall in this category of people, you need to make sure you follow the post extraction bleeding advice given to you.
The most common way in which you can stop any bleeding post-surgery is to gently bite down on a piece of surgical sterile gauze. A pack of this gauze is always provided to you at the end of your extraction appointment.
If the gauze needs to be changed frequently and/or, after 24 hours you’re still bleeding heavily, contact your dentist or a medical expert and seek their professional advice.
Avoid eating hard foods
After you’ve undergone tooth extraction surgery, for a few days you’re going to have to get used to eating soft and cool foods to prevent any pain and discomfort.
Avoid tough and crunchy foods, and instead eat softer foods such as oats, soup, smoothies, risotto, and things like that. As far as temperature goes, look for foods which are cool, but not cold, as extreme temperatures can also cause a lot of pain if they come into contact with the extraction site.
Rest and keep your head elevated for at least a day
Another important tip which will also help to speed up the recovery process after a tooth extraction, is to rest and keep your head elevated for at least a day after the procedure.
Rest is how your body recovers and keeping the head elevated will prevent blood from rushing to the surgery site which could make stopping the bleeding post extraction harder to achieve.
Tooth extraction FAQs
How long does it take for the hole to close after a tooth extraction?
It should take about 3 - 6 weeks for the tooth extraction site to close.
How can I make my tooth extraction heal faster?
Some of the things to speed up your tooth extraction recovery are listed below:
1) Put cold compresses on your face where the tooth extraction is done. This will help reduce the pain and swelling.
2) Eat soft foods with little to no spices or added salt/sugar for a few days after you have had the procedure done. Avoid chewing on that side of your mouth.
3) Ibuprofen is a good pain killer to take—do not exceed the dosage of course.
4) Do not smoke or use tobacco products—smoking can cause you gum problems and affect healing time dramatically.
5) Be careful with brushing at first, so as not to irritate your gums.
6) Keep away from alcohol or at least don't drink in excess. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to excessive bleeding that will be difficult to control and may prolong healing time.
How long does it hurt after tooth extraction?
You will experience some pain after the extraction, but it is important to follow your dentist's instructions on how to manage pain. There are many ways of controlling pain, and they all work more or less well for different people. You can expect some initial pain after tooth extraction; however if you experience extreme pain, book a consultation with your dentist.
Should I still have pain 5 days after tooth extraction?
After having a tooth extracted - especially molars - you may feel some pain and discomfort for around 3-7 days after it has been removed. However, if you still have intense pain near the area immediately after 5 days, book an appointment to see your dentist.