A tooth extraction may be necessary for many reasons, including severe damage or decay. One of the most common dental procedures, a tooth extraction removes a damaged or infected tooth and can eliminate bacteria and improve your overall oral health. As for how long it takes to recover can really vary from patient to patient depending on a few important factors: the size and location of the tooth, a patient’s dental and medical health, and the patient’s compliance with aftercare instructions.
When is tooth extraction recommended?
Healthcare providers prefer to save natural teeth whenever possible. But sometimes, other restorative methods such as dental fillings or dental crowns aren’t enough. If your tooth has been badly damaged past the point of repair, then removal may be necessary. Your dentist may recommend tooth extraction if you have:
- Severe tooth decay (cavities).
- A fractured tooth.
- An impacted tooth.
- Crowded teeth.
- Severe gum disease.
- Tooth luxation or other dental injuries.
For a simple extraction, the recovery process is usually very brief. Typically, your oral surgeon will ask that you at least take about 48-72 hours to relax afterward so the treatment area is allowed to clot. The soft tissue will usually fully heal in about 3-4 weeks.
When you have a surgical extraction, the recovery process is a little longer. Once again, the doctor will likely recommend that a patient take the first 48-72 hours easy, and after that, they should limit their physical activity for about a week or so before resuming normal activities.
As for how much time a patient will need to take off of work following an extraction, it will depend largely on the amount of physical activity required for their job. This should be discussed with an oral surgeon beforehand so the patient can coordinate with their employer if necessary.
Recovery Tips for Extractions
In order to ensure a speedy recovery from an extraction:
- Avoid brushing, flossing, or chewing near the treatment site for the first few days
- Do not use a straw, rinse the mouth, or spit for the first 24 hours so a proper blood clot can form
- Do not smoke, as this increases the chances of developing an infection
- Limit physical activity in order to not dislodge the clot
- When sleeping for the first few days, keep the head in an elevated position to prevent any bleeding
- Use a cold compress or prescribed medication as directed to control any swelling or pain.
Thanks to modern dental technology and local anesthesia, most extractions are relatively quick, easy, and the recovery is nice and short. Of course, if you’d like to avoid having one of your teeth removed in the first place, then the solution is simple: brush twice a day, floss, and regularly see your dentist.