Tooth extraction is sometimes a necessary part of dental care. In fact, tooth extraction can be a significant step to better dental health and less oral discomfort. Here are a few tips, as well as some information, to help you prepare for and manage tooth extraction pain.
How long does the pain last after a tooth extraction?
In general, tooth extraction pain can be expected to last from a few days to two weeks. This, of course, is dependent upon several factors: how healthy your gum line and jaw are, for instance, the complexity of the surgery, and your oral hygiene and aftercare during recovery.
It’s hard to put an exact timeline on tooth extraction pain, but discomfort following the surgery is expected and typical. For healthy individuals undergoing a simple extraction, they may face a recovery of only a few days, whereas patients who get impacted teeth removed may take longer to heal.
What can I do before the tooth extraction to prepare for recovery?
In general, the best thing you can do for any dental surgery or tooth extraction is to practice good oral hygiene. Keeping your teeth clean and your gums in their healthiest state before your tooth extraction will go a long way in helping you recover quickly.
What happens immediately following the extraction?
I will place gauze in your socket which should be held in place firmly for 30 minutes. If the site is still bleeding replace the gauze and bite firmly again. Avoid vigorous chewing or rinsing close to the extraction site, because this can increase bleeding or dislodge the blood clot.
Ice is nature’s anti-inflammatory and is an important tool when managing tooth extraction pain. The cold constricts your surrounding blood vessels, reducing swelling and encouraging the retreating blood to flush out the healing area.
If you decide to ice repeatedly, try icing the area for 20 minutes, followed by a 20-minute break for the first 3-6 hours following surgery.
As the blood returns to the iced area, it will bring healing nutrients.
Repeat the cycle to minimise swelling and speed up the healing process.
Swelling is not uncommon after tooth extraction surgery and may last up to 2 weeks.
Depending on your tooth extraction and your degree of tooth extraction pain, I may prescribe antibiotics and painkillers. You can use over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. You can take both in conjunction with each other, which will give you a strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect.
Tips to keep the tooth extraction site clean
In addition to managing the symptoms of tooth extraction pain, it’s also important to keep the extraction site clean as it recovers. Here are some of my tips to help facilitate efficient healing:
- Avoid strenuous exertion.
- After the first 24 hours, rinse your mouth approximately 4 times per day with warm saltwater. The saline solution will cleanse and disinfect the wound site, clearing it of debris and speeding up the healing process. Rinse after each time you eat to clear your mouth of food particles. Do not rinse more than 4 times a day.
- Avoid any foods that risk irritating the wound site—anything spicy, crispy, crunchy, or sticky until I confirm that you have fully healed.
- Opt for soft foods. Yoghurt, soup, broth, porridge, or soft boiled eggs are wonderful options.
- Keep your head elevated when lying down. This can help reduce excess blood flow to the wound site and therefore excess inflammation or swelling.
- Refrain from spitting when you brush your teeth, drinking through a straw, or smoking for at least 24-48 hours following surgery. These actions involve sucking, which could dislodge the blood clot at the wound site and expose bone and nerve endings. This painful condition is called dry socket, and it is best avoided.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll expedite your recovery and can return to your normal activities and regular diet.
Symptoms to watch out for
Tooth extractions are routine dental procedures. My team and I can provide you with a comfortable, safe experience. If, however, you experience complications, here are some symptoms to watch out for. Contact my dental practice if you have any questions or concerns.
- Stubborn swelling that doesn’t abate with ice, medication, and within a few days
- Bad breath
- Pain that lasts much longer than the timeframe I gave you for your specific tooth extraction surgery
- Excessive bleeding
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact me as a matter of urgency on (02) 8203 8750, so I can help you get back on the path to a comfortable healing process.
Tooth extraction is a routine dental procedure. While tooth extraction pain is undoubtedly an uncomfortable part of the process, it’s just a short step along the journey to dental health.
If you feel you may need a tooth extraction or want to discuss or schedule a dental appointment, contact Tooth Crusader on (02) 8203 8750. My staff and I are passionate about your dental health and well-being!