Healing Process After a Dental Extraction

Dental Extraction, What to expect?

After a tooth extraction, a blood clot should form inside the tooth socket. This clot is necessary for healing and it must be treated with care.

Immediately following the dental extraction and for the following 2-4 days, an inflammatory phase begins. The patient may experience minor pain and discomfort, and possibly have the taste of blood in the mouth because of minor bleeding, which is normal. The tissues around the empty socket may appear swollen and red.

From 4 days to 5 weeks, a proliferative phase begins, where a tissue similar to a scab forms in the socket and the wound edges pull together to reduce in size. This healing tissue may appear whitish. Some patients think the socket is infected and try to clean it with a toothbrush, only to injure it more and cause delay in the healing process. If there is evident debris in it, it is advisable to gently wash it out with water or an alcohol-free mouth wash.

Within weeks and continuing for years after the extraction the scar tissue is formed and the bone heals.

Tooth extractions are not recommended for patients with uncontrolled bleeding disorders, advanced cardiac conditions, end-stage renal disease, and recent history of head and neck cancer.

If the tooth or its surrounding tissues are infected, antibiotics are prescribed for about one week before the extraction. It is necessary to eliminate any infection to allow the anesthesia to work. Once the infection is gone, the dental extraction may take place. Also, your dentist may prescribe high doses of antibiotics to be taken 1 hour before the procedure to lower the possibility of infection.

Complications of tooth extraction

Bad smell and taste are also possible to occur along with the pain following the extraction of a tooth. This condition is called alveolar osteitis, commonly known as dry socket, although on rare cases it can be “humid” when pus is present.

Alveolar osteitis can develop when extractions complicate and there is some trauma involved. The risk increases when the patient smokes, drinks hot beverages, takes oral contraceptives or thoroughly rinses the mouth too soon.

If this condition appears, the patient must see the dentist. Keep in mind that taking pain killers will not fix it. After proper diagnosis, the dentist flushes out the debris with saline solution and places a sedative dressing in the socket. Antibiotics are usually not necessary.

What to do if the bleeding restarts?

Your dentist should allow you to return home only when the bleeding has stopped. However, in some cases, bleeding may resume a few hours later, especially at night. It is important to rest with your head higher than your feet.

If you are experiencing a hemorrhage, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. Also, you can bite on gauze for a few minutes to allow pressure to stop the bleeding; it is helpful to bite a tea bag because it contains tannic acid, which aids in promoting a blood clot.
Facial inflammation:

After non- surgical dental extractions, some patients may experience inflammation on the side of the face where the extraction took place. This is due to possible traumatic extraction, and it may resolve within a few days. During wisdom teeth surgical extractions, it is far more common to have the surrounding tissues swollen. Applying ice compresses on the affected site for a few minutes can help reduce the inflammation.

Most complications can be prevented if the dentist’s directions are followed carefully. Click here to learn the most common methods to care for your mouth following a dental extraction.

If you want to have teeth removed in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Help Me Find a Dentist” form and a participating dental specialist will contact you to discuss your case.