How to Recover after a Tooth Extraction

August 27, 2018

Your permanent teeth are meant to last you for a lifetime. However, conditions like tooth decay, trauma, overcrowded mouths and periodontal disease could necessitate the pulling of a tooth or two. Here is all you need to know about post-extraction care and recovery.

Understanding Tooth Extraction

Both oral surgeons and dentists can carry out tooth extractions. The dentist gives the patient a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the troubled tooth. If the tooth is impacted, the dentist cuts away gum and bone tissues that covers the tooth.

Using forceps, the dentist rocks the tooth back and forth to loosen it. When the tooth is loose enough, it’s then pulled out. Sometimes, the tooth can be troublesome to remove, and the dental professional will have to remove it in pieces.

A blood clot forms within the socket of the extracted tooth and the dentist places a gauze pad into the socket. The patient is encouraged to bite on the pad to stop the bleeding. Sometimes, the dentist closes the socket with self-dissolving stitches.


Tooth extraction is a safe procedure. But there is a possibility that harmful bacteria could be introduced into the patient’s bloodstream or infect the gum tissue. Patients at high risk of severe infection are administered antibiotics before and after the procedure. It’s vital that patients report their medical history and current medications before the extraction.


It takes a few days to recover from the operation. A patient may request for a painkiller if the pain is unbearable. Biting down on the gauze pad will stop bleeding and help the formation of blood clots within the socket. Leave the pad in place as directed by your dentist. Apply ice to the affected area to reduce swelling. Patients are advised to rest for a full day after the tooth extraction.

To keep the clot in place, do not rinse your mouth or spit in the six hours following the extraction. Avoid smoking as it can hinder healing. Eat only soft foods like jello, soup, and pudding for a full day.