What is involved in an extraction?
A local anaesthetic is applied to numb the site of the tooth. During the extraction procedure you may feel some pressure and movement before the tooth is pulled out. However, you shouldn’t feel any pain. In more complicated cases, a cut is made into the gums and the tooth is removed after cutting it into parts with or without the removal of any surrounding bone.
The recovery period can vary from patient to patient. During the first two to three days, you will experience some swelling and discomfort and should recover fully within 1 to 2 weeks.
Adequate pain medication will be prescribed, depending on the level of discomfort. To help with the swelling, place an ice pack on the side of your face where the tooth was removed, as the cold helps reduce swelling and ease discomfort.
There are plenty of things you can do to make your recovery time easier, and it is important to take it easy for a few days.
Avoid eating on the side where the tooth was removed. After each meal, rinse gently with salt water to help keep the area clean and prevent infection. Avoid rinsing regularly as this will dislodge the blood clot from the extraction site. It is important to note, that once the tooth is removed, the roots leave a ‘socket’ in the jaw bone, creating a hole in the gum which will close over in 1-2 weeks. It is also advisable not to keep disturbing the socket with your tongue or finger while it is healing. For smokers, it is important to avoid smoking after tooth extraction as this can cause an infection known as a dry socket.
A soft-food diet for the first day or two is also required, slowly transitioning to semi-soft and normal foods over time.
Whilst complications such as an infection are rare, it is vital to keep an eye on progress and contact your dentist with any concerns.