Once the permanent teeth set in, it is expected that they should last you through your lifetime. This is however not always the case as for some reasons, a dentist may recommend you remove a tooth or more to improve your overall dental health. Some of the reasons for a tooth being removed include gum disease, overcrowding, damage from trauma, tooth infections and advanced decay. Patients usually do not experience any pain during the procedure as anesthetic is administered prior, to numb the area.
A tooth extraction can be simple or surgical. In simple extraction, the dentist will use an elevator to loosen the tooth before finally lifting t off with dental forceps. Surgical extraction on the other hand is fairly invasive and this means you may need more time to recover. A dental surgeon will need to make an incision on the gum and bone tissue and then try to loosen the tooth from its roots. If the tooth cannot be removed in one-piece, small pieces may be removed at a time. Stitches may also be necessary for a surgical extraction.
1st 24 Hours After Extraction
Within the first 24hours after a tooth extraction, you will not notice much in terms of healing but whatever happens within that time is very important. Your dentist will usually hand you some aftercare instructions and this includes you monitoring the changes on the extraction site. A tooth removal leaves behind a wound on the socket where the tooth used to be. The socket will bleed immediately the tooth is pulled out but within a few hours a clot needs to have formed to initiate the healing process. To ensure a clot forms soon enough, the dentist will instruct you to bite down on a piece of gauze on the extraction site for at least an hour. While the bite down pressure is important in stopping bleeding, do not chew or bite down too hard as this may cause more damage than good. You can also apply an ice pack on the check near the extraction site to help minimize tenderness.
1st Week After Extraction
The next few days after an extraction may require you to make some adjustments to ensure proper healing. You will need to adjust your diet to soft and liquid foods immediately after the extraction and eat foods like soups, smoothies, mashed potatoes and yoghurt. It will also not be possible to brush over the socket and instead you will brush other areas of the mouth like would normally do and then use a warm saline rinse.Smoking is also not allowed during this time as it could cause you to develop dry socket.
After about 7 days, the numbness and tenderness in the extraction site will be gone and the wound will have significantly healed. You can still go about your everyday activities but try to avoid any impact or trauma to the area. During this time you will still be taking any medications your dentist may have prescribed.
2 Weeks After Extraction
Two weeks after a tooth removal, there is significant change on how the gum tissue appears. Unlike the skin outside the body, oral tissue tends to heal faster. So, at this point if you have stitches, they can be removed. The socket will appear smaller and the clot will be gone. You will be less conscious of the area and can even chew on regular foods. however, the new tissues forming around the socket at this time are still highly vascular and you experience slight tenderness if the area is prodded. So, brush your teeth gently and avoid interfering with the area.
1 Month After Extraction
After around 4 weeks of a tooth removal, you will probably not even be thinking about it anymore. The healing process will essentially be complete. However, there will still be lots of activities happening beneath the socket. New bone will start to form adjacent to the sockets, filling it in from the bottom and sides first. The site will also continue to grow smaller both in width and depth and blend in with the contours of the surrounding bone to leave behind something resembling a dimple.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when considering recovery time frame for a tooth removal. This is just a basic guideline on what to expect although the timeline may not be entirely accurate on each case. It is only your dentist that can determine if you are recovering well or not. So make sure to keep all your follow-up appointments after having a tooth removed.