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How Long Does It Take to Heal After a Tooth Extraction?

TeamGeneral Dentistry

Tooth extractions are only performed when the natural tooth cannot be saved. If your dentist must extract a tooth, it may take up to four weeks for the soft tissue to fully heal. However, most people feel well enough to begin eating normally within 24 hours and resume normal activities soon after. Your recovery will depend upon the type of extraction. An in-office extraction of a fully erupted tooth is a less complicated procedure than a surgical extraction for an impacted tooth, which will be referred to an oral surgeon.

What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction

Tooth extractions are not painful procedures. The area around the tooth will be completely numbed using local anesthesia. A specialized instrument will be used to gently loosen the tooth from your jaw. Then, your dentist will use forceps to carefully extract the tooth. The entire process takes just minutes. Your dentist may or may not need to suture the space, after extraction. 

You will be given detailed aftercare instructions. You should stick with soft foods for at least 24 hours. Your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever to manage any post-extraction tenderness or discomfort. 

Why Would a Tooth Need to Be Extracted?

Your dentist may advise you that you need a tooth extracted for one of several common reasons.

Severe Decay

Cavities that go untreated can infect the pulp of your tooth. Although in some cases, a root canal may be able to save the tooth, in extreme cases, the tooth may be unsalvageable. In this case, to prevent decay and infection from spreading your tooth may need to be extracted.

Tooth Injury

If a tooth is injured, all efforts will be made to save the tooth. However, trauma to a tooth or multiple teeth can be so severe that the tooth needs to be removed.  

Wisdom Teeth

Many people do not have enough space in the mouth to accommodate back molars, otherwise known as wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are routinely extracted either after eruption or while they are still impacted. 

Teeth Crowding

Extractions of teeth can be a necessary part of orthodontic treatment. In these cases, overcrowding in the mouth is to blame, and the removal of one or several teeth can allow for alignment with braces or Invisalign

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease that goes untreated can lead to periodontal disease, which is an infection of the ligaments, bone, and gums. Teeth can be weakened by periodontal disease, making them loose. Extraction may be one option your dentist discusses with you.

What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction

Your gum may be tender following a tooth extraction. You may use pain medicine recommended by your dentist. You may also ice your cheek to help with swelling. You should avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where you had an extraction. It is best to stick with liquids and soft foods for the first 24 hours before gradually introducing other foods.

. Do not smoke or vape after having a tooth extracted.  Do not use a straw, as the sucking motion can lead to bleeding. Keep your head elevated with pillows, and brush your teeth very carefully, avoiding the extraction site. Follow all other post-extraction instructions provided by your dentist.

Learn More About Dental Care and Extractions in Westport

Dr. Mark Roisman has provided complete general and cosmetic dentistry in Westport, since 1995. To schedule a routine exam and cleaning, or for treatment of a painful tooth contact us today at 203-227-6338