We do everything we can to protect our patients’ oral health and preserve their natural teeth. Sometimes, however, tooth extraction is necessary. Teeth can become compromised beyond repair as a result of severe decay, injury, or infection. Plus, some teeth (often wisdom teeth) need to be removed because they are impacted, not fully erupted, or resulting in an overly crowded jaw.
Although the procedure might sound unpleasant, our dentist, Dr. Jared Harding does everything he can to work with each patient to ensure a comfortable procedure and a smooth, pain-free recovery.
Is Pain After a Tooth Extraction Normal?
Tooth extraction procedures always take place with the use of local anesthetics to ensure the treatment area is fully numb so that the patient does not experience any pain or discomfort during extraction. Once the anesthetic wears off, some pain, swelling, and discomfort are normal after having a tooth extracted.
Following a simple tooth extraction, pain typically resides after two or three days. More complex procedures might have a slightly longer healing time, and patients might experience pain for a little longer. Additionally, you can expect to experience some bleeding during the first 24 hours following your procedure. After this time, a blood clot should form in the socket.
Pain that lasts more than a few days or severe pain that cannot be adequately treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or your prescription pain medication could be a sign of a complication. If you experience severe pain, you should contact our office’s emergency number and seek medical attention right away.
Signs and Symptoms of Complications After a Tooth Extraction
In addition to severe or particularly long-lasting pain, the following signs and symptoms could also indicate recovery complications, such as an infection or dry socket. If you experience any of the following, contact our office as soon as possible:
- Increasing (rather than decreasing) pain
- Severe pain that radiates toward your ear
- Worsening swelling of the gum tissue
- Bleeding does not stop within 24 hours
- A blood clot does not form in the socket (dry socket)
- Symptoms of an infection (fever, vomiting, or nausea)
- Foul-smelling or tasting drainage or discharge from the wound
- Visible pus in or around the wound
If you experience any of these symptoms or are concerned about anything else regarding your recovery, pain, or inflammation, we strongly encourage you to contact our office.
Tooth Extraction Pain Management
Pain following most tooth extraction procedures can be adequately managed with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. If the patient has a more complex extraction, we might prescribe stronger medication to address the pain. Patients can take steps to help manage and mitigate pain and swelling after tooth extraction. In addition to pain medications, a patient can apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek and keep their head elevated following the procedure.
How to Reduce Pain After an Extraction: Tooth Extraction Aftercare
Additionally, be sure to follow all of the aftercare steps and instructions recommended by our dentist. These instructions typically include:
- Eating only soft foods for at least two or three days after the procedure
- Enjoying cold foods and drinks
- Avoiding hot (temperature), spicy, or acidic foods and beverages
- Not using a straw (and avoiding sucking on anything) for several days following your procedure
- Not using tobacco products of any kind
- Not consuming alcohol following your procedure
- Avoiding strenuous, physical activities for at least 48 to 72 hours
We also might provide you with a water syringe and recommend irrigating your extraction site throughout your recovery period. We might also schedule you for a follow-up appointment so that we can examine your tooth extraction site about two weeks after the procedure. During this appointment, we can ensure your socket is healing properly, provide you with updated aftercare guidance, and talk with you about your options for replacing your missing tooth.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Tooth Extraction?
The time it takes to recover from a tooth extraction depends on how complex and/or invasive the necessary procedure is. After tooth extraction, most patients feel normal and are ready to return to their usual activities after about two or three days of rest. Although most patients feel better fairly soon, the gum tissues and jawbone can require several weeks to heal completely.
Simple Extractions, Complex Extractions, and Tooth-Replacement Options in West Bend, Wisconsin
At Dentistry of West Bend, we prioritize preserving and saving our patients’ teeth. Sometimes, however, tooth extraction is necessary to avoid further health complications. In these cases, Dr. Jared Harding is highly experienced in handling a variety of extractions, including both simple and surgical extractions.
After an extraction, we help monitor the patient’s recovery process and work with the patient to determine if any restorative tooth-replacement treatments are desired or recommended. We can work with you to help you determine whether a dental bridge, dental implant, or denture is the right treatment option.