The tooth extraction procedure is also known as tooth pulling, exodontia, and exodontics. It results in the formation of a temporary hole. The time needed for the socket to heal varies on a case-to-case basis.
Several aspects influence the recovery. No worries, let’s take a detailed look at stages of healing and factors that can affect the speed. We have divided the discussion into small parts to answer the most frequently asked questions on the issue.
- Types of extraction
Simple extraction does not result in a large wound, but a surgical one does.
As the name suggests, simple extractions are unchallenging. Dental care experts use the same for pulling out small teeth.
A surgical extraction is necessary in the case of wisdom teeth and canine teeth. Dentists also opt for the same to remove fragments of a completely decayed tooth.
- The significance of wound size in healing
Removal of a baby tooth or lower incisor can result in a minor wound. So, the healing time required is less. On the other hand, surgically removing a wisdom tooth takes longer and may result in a deeper, more expansive, larger wound. No points for guessing, the healing period for the hole is longer. The waiting period for gum tissues to repair and regenerate can be between 7 to 21 days.
- Healing stages
Healing takes time, so dentists often divide the same into stages for tracking progress.
- The crucial 48 hours
The body has a recovery mechanism that kicks in immediately after dental extraction. During the first 24 to 48 hours period, a blood clot starts forming over the hole. It keeps the bacteria and food particles out. Bone and gum tissues start accumulating inside the empty space.
The bleeding slows down during this period and completely stops post 48 hours in most cases. However, patients may continue experiencing tenderness and swelling on the affected side of the mouth.
- The road to recovery, between 7 and 21 days
You would be able to see visible results during this time frame. Stitches start dissolving, and the hole begins to visibly close as the gum tissue regeneration speed increases.
Molars and large tooth extraction sites show a considerable recovery during this period. Even extensive extraction cases show significant progress.
- The final stage of healing
The time frame between the first and the fourth-month post-surgical extraction is the final recovery stage.
You can expect the tooth hole and extraction site to fill and heal completely. A new bone would fill the tooth socket.
- Time required for tooth extraction hole to close after surgery
Gum tissue regeneration takes less time than the number of days required to heal the jawbone hole.
The bone formation starts after seven days post-surgery. The process needs eight to ten weeks for completion. The hole (surgical site) substantially fills up due to the new bone formation.
After four months, you won’t see any difference between the surgical site and the surrounding jawbone.
- Patient’s healing capacity
Genetic characteristics, age, medical conditions, personal habits, and immune system capacity differ from person to person. These individual factors affect the healing timeline.
Plus, the preoperatory status of oral health also comes into the picture. For example, gum disease or pericoronitis during the removal of the tooth complicates the healing process.
- Risk factors that can delay healing procedure
The risk factors post-surgery are a minimum. However, they do exist.
There are slight chances of dry socket formation if the blood clot does not form in the hole. A dry socket can delay the new bone formation and soft tissue crucial for recovery.
Accumulation of food particles and bacteria in the operated site can be disastrous.
Individuals who often chew or vape nicotine products should consider quitting the same for at least a month.
If you use oral contraceptives, discuss the same with your dentist.
- Aftercare to expedite healing
Aftercare steps depend on the tooth and type of extraction.
The first and most significant step is ensuring the blood clot remains in the socket. Don’t let your tongue frequently touch the clot formed in the operated spot. A dislodged clot can result in pain.
You can take the following steps for speeding up the healing process:
- Your dentist will place a gauze pad in the operated area, keep it in place for at least three hours.
- You need to take complete rest for ten hours after the operation.
- Don’t use a straw; rinse or spit for a minimum of 24 hours.
- Rinse your mouth only after 24 hours with saltwater.
- Take pain-killing medication and other antibiotics as prescribed by your dental surgeon.
- If you apply an ice bag for relieving pain, it is advisable to use it for only 10 minutes at a time.
- Avoid lying flat while sleeping; use pillows.
- Don’t skip your brushing and flossing routine.
- Lastly, it is advisable to avoid smoking altogether as it can impact the healing process.
Replacing the missing tooth with implants
Filling the empty space with dental implants or bridges remains crucial to regain your chewing power. Opting for implants also helps in retaining jaw bone support.
Your dentist will recommend dental implants, partial dentures, dental bridges, or other suitable restorations.
A waiting period is applicable. However, every patient does not need to wait for a year.
In some cases, this time limit can be one month, while patients with complicated extractions may have to wait for six months.
You might wonder, why do dentists prefer waiting to fill up the space? Well, the socket’s healing takes several days. The shape of the jawbone undergoes substantial change during this period. Thus, it’s better to place an implant only after the shape of the affected area in the jawbone has settled.
Until the jawbone’s healing has advanced enough, your dentist may place a temporary appliance to restore your chewing power if necessary.
On a final note:
Do you think one of your teeth has reached the point of no return? Don’t hesitate; opt for a dental extraction before the infection impacts your jawbone.
Tooth extraction is not the activity that you would like to spend your weekend on. But, ignoring that painful, completely decayed tooth may not be the best option.