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While your dentist will work to save your teeth if, at all possible, there are situations in which extraction is the best option. Tooth extractions are a common procedure when someone has a tooth infection, tooth decay, gum disease, damage from trauma and crowded teeth.

If you are scheduled to have a tooth extracted at your dentist’s office in Renton, WA, you may be wondering how long it will take you to recover. Tooth extraction is a simple and straightforward procedure, but it does require some healing afterward.

Tooth Extraction Recovery Tips

Though aftercare may differ based on the type of extraction and location of your tooth, you can usually expect to heal in a matter of 7 to 10 days.

Here are some guidelines for aftercare following your tooth extraction:

Know What Activities to Avoid.

There are certain activities you’ll need to steer clear of to avoid any potential complications after your tooth extraction. You should avoid drinking through a straw, which can cause the blood clot in your socket to become dislodged. Do not smoke or use any other tobacco products, and keep away from hard or chewy foods.

Don’t Forget to Rinse.

You should avoid rinsing your mouth at all for the first full 24 hours after you have a tooth extracted. After that, however, you do need to rinse to keep your mouth clean and avoid infection. Mix one-half of a teaspoon of table salt into a full glass of warm water and rinse about once every four hours. Keep this up for about 3-4 days. You may still brush and floss as usual, but avoid touching the extraction site.

Don’t Overexert Yourself.

It’s important to remember to avoid strenuous activity as much as possible in the 48 hours following the tooth extraction procedure. For example, do not exercise, run, or try to lift heavy objects. After two days, you can gradually start to be active again. And when you sleep, prop your head up with pillows as lying flat can prolong healing.

Treat Your Pain As Advised.

It’s not unusual to experience some pain in the days after you have a tooth extracted. You can use painkillers as recommended by your dentist to alleviate the discomfort. You can also wrap an ice bag in a cloth and apply it for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Leaving the ice on for too long can result in tissue damage. If you experience unusual pain, call your dentist.

What to Eat Following Your Tooth Extraction?

As your extraction heals, you will be able to incorporate more solid foods but during the healing process it is best to stick with soft foods such as

  • soup
  • pudding
  • yogurt
  • applesauce
  • jello
  • soft noodles
  • mashed banana
  • eggs

Use soft foods for at least a week after your extraction. Ideally, you want to avoid foods that require chewing and hot drinks. Also avoid hard, crunchy food, such as chips, pretzels, nuts, and seeds, as well as hot or spicy foods. Additionally, avoid sucking on straws, smoking, and drinking alcohol for the first 24 hours following your surgery.

After a healing period of 1-2 weeks, you’ll most likely be able to resume your normal diet.

When to Call Your Dentist

It is normal to feel some pain after the anesthesia wears off. And most people experience swelling and residual bleeding for the first 24 hours following the procedure. However, if either bleeding or pain is still severe after more than 4 hours, you should contact your dentist. You should also contact your dentist if you experience signs of infection (including fevers and chills); nausea or vomiting; redness, swelling or excessive discharge from the affected area; cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting.

Follow up care is a key part of your treatment and safety so make sure to go to all follow-up dental appointments and call your dentist if you are having any problems.

About the Author – Dr. Thuy Nguyen, DDS

Dr. Thuy Nguyen DDS in Tukwila, WA holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and received a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. In 2011, she also completed the Progressive Orthodontic Program. She is known for her fine work and a friendly and caring attitude. Her enthusiasm for dentistry is contagious, as she designs and improves smile after smile. Dr. Nguyen is bilingual in English and Vietnamese. She maintains memberships to the Seattle King County Dental Association, The Washington State Dental Association, and The American Dental Association.


Tips for Recovering from a Tooth Extraction.

Sissons, Claire. Reviewed by Christine Frank DDS. How long does it take to recover from a wisdom tooth extraction? MedicalNewsToday, April 28, 2018.