One of the most common types of oral surgery is tooth extraction. Infections, tooth decay, and crowding are common reasons people opt for tooth extractions.
Once the extraction is performed, it can be challenging to know if your tooth extraction site is healing properly. You can anticipate mild bleeding, swelling, pain, sore jaw and throat, slight discolouration, and bruising as the anesthesia wears off during the initial recovery period. These side effects are common and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
You should monitor the extraction site to ensure it improves every day at all stages of the recovery process. We recommend looking at images of tooth extraction healing so you know what should a tooth extraction look like when healing. If you suspect your tooth extraction site isn’t healing properly at any point in your healing process, don’t hesitate to contact our dental clinic in Mississauga.
This blog describes what a tooth extraction should and should not look like when healing.
What Should a Tooth Extraction Look Like When It’s Healing?
During a successful tooth extraction healing, white stuff will start forming around the area as it heals. Don’t panic, as the white stuff indicates that your tooth extraction is healing properly.
Typically, this whitish material is granulation tissue, a frail tissue composed of blood vessels, collagen, and white blood cells.
What is Granulation Tissue?
Following your tooth extraction, a blood clot forms within the first day to stop the bleeding. Granulation tissue will form in the extraction site after about a week following the tooth extraction procedure.
Granulation tissue helps protect the clot until the formation of the new bone. This bone formation will take approximately eight weeks. The tissue is a creamy white colour made of collagen, blood vessels and white blood cells. The formation of this tissue is a great sign! It means your socket is healing properly.
Once a blood clot has formed and granulation tissue has appeared in your extraction site, you’re well on the road to recovery! To ensure you’re protecting the clot while it heals, take the following precautions for up to ten days following your tooth removal:
- Gently rinse your mouth out with a small spoonful of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water to kill any bacteria. Don’t forcefully spit out this solution as this can dislodge the clot and cause complications.
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth but avoid the teeth adjacent to the extraction site.
- Eat only soft, nutritious foods for won’t require you to chew. For more information about what to eat and what not to eat after tooth extraction, read our other blogs
Day-By-Day Breakdown of How a Tooth Extraction Should Heal
Generally, you can expect a simple tooth extraction to heal in 7 to 10 days. The blood clot should solidify over the area, and by the second week, the entire area should have been mostly healed.
However, complicated cases involving deeper incisions may take a little longer than two weeks. Regardless of what kind of tooth extraction procedure you underwent, here is a general day-by-day breakdown of what to expect following a tooth extraction.
During the First 24 Hours:
After the surgery, it is vital to leave the initial gauze as long as your dentist instructs you to. This helps absorb some of the blood. You will also be given a clean gauze to replace the initial one. After a few hours, the blood should start clotting.
It is normal if you feel any pain or discomfort during the first 24 hours, as the area will bleed and swell for a few hours. This can be managed with gauze and ice packs.
7 to 10 Days Following the Tooth Extraction:
The extraction site may still be swollen, but the swelling is comparatively lesser than in the first 24 hours. By the end of the week or the 10th day, the bleeding should have stopped and the blood clot should be formed and in place.
However, eating soft foods and consistently using saline rinses are still important. You can gradually start brushing and flossing as you did normally while being careful around the extraction site.
Two Weeks After the Procedure:
During this stage, the socket should have formed new granulation tissue and blood vessels. The swelling should be minimal to none, and the tooth extraction site will now start healing completely.
You should be able to resume normal activities two weeks after your tooth extraction. However, it’s best to still practice caution and not over-exert yourself, as this might disrupt the healing process. Make sure to follow your dentist’s post-op advice to avoid infection and ensure proper healing.
How Long Should a Blood Clot Stay After a Tooth Extraction?
Around 24 to 48 hours after the extraction, a blood clot should start forming. The blood clot after the tooth extraction should remain in place for a whole day to avoid getting dislodged. It should be free from food particles and bacteria to heal properly. After about seven to ten days, the clot should be fully formed and in place.
After two weeks, we recommend visiting your dentist or oral surgeon for a follow-up session so you can get a professional opinion on how your tooth extraction site is healing.
What Shouldn’t A Tooth Extraction Look Like When It’s Healing?
Typically, there should be a hole or a socket where the tooth was removed following a tooth extraction. If you notice that it has not healed over time, it might indicate that the extraction site has not healed properly. Contact our emergency dental clinic and seek treatment immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding or severe pain and swelling for four hours following the procedure
- High fever, nausea or vomiting
- A foul taste or smell from the extraction site
- Dry socket
If you recently got your tooth extracted and notice there isn’t a blood clot for 5 days after having a tooth extraction, you may have developed a “dry socket.”
What is a Dry Socket?
A dry socket is a fairly common complication that follows a tooth extraction. According to Healthline, 1 to 5% of patients who have their teeth removed get dry sockets. It occurs when the blood clot that forms in the extraction site doesn’t develop properly. A dry socket is problematic as it may cause bone and nerve exposure.
You may have a dry socket if:
- You can see a visible bone in the socket, or your socket appears grey or empty-looking.
- You’re in severe pain following your tooth extraction. This pain will radiate from the extraction site to your ears, eyes or temples.
- You’ve lost your blood clot.
- You have consistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth despite brushing your teeth and practicing good oral hygiene.
If you’ve been monitoring your extraction site and suspect you have a dry socket, contact your trusted dentist or oral surgeon immediately.
What Are the Signs of a Tooth Infection?
A tooth extraction is generally a minimally invasive procedure. However, tooth infections may sometimes develop as patients already have bacteria in their mouth, which is usually controlled with proper daily oral hygiene. However, infection after tooth extraction can begin when bacteria enter the space from where the tooth was removed. If not addressed immediately, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause additional problems.
If you see white or yellow pus in your socket after the extraction, call your dentist, as this is a sign of infection. You should also look for these signs of infection:
- Worsening bleeding, pain and swelling for two to three days following your procedure
- A bad taste in your mouth
While monitoring your socket, you may also notice food debris or leftover gauze in your extraction site. You can rinse your mouth with salt water to dislodge any food particles and prevent infection.
You may also feel tiny pieces of tooth fragments emerging from the socket. This fragmentation is also not a cause for concern, as any remaining pieces should come out on their own.
How to Prevent Infections Following a Tooth Extraction
After a tooth extraction, you must take all the necessary precautions to ensure proper healing. To avoid developing infections, dry sockets, and other oral complications, make sure to steer clear of the following:
- Do not drink through a straw as it may dislodge the blood clot that forms in the socket.
- Avoid eating anything too hard or crunchy, as well as anything too hot or spicy, for a few days following the extraction. Eat cold and creamy treats like ice cream, smoothies, and yogurt instead.
- For the first 24 hours following an extraction, you should not rinse your mouth aggressively or brush the area surrounding the extraction site. After that, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water).
- Do not perform strenuous activities for a few days to minimize the risk of bleeding.
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