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Dental patients may need tooth extractions for various potential reasons. Examples include (but aren’t necessarily limited to) the following:


  • Impacted wisdom teeth aren’t erupting properly
  • Severe dental decay
  • Overcrowding teeth
  • Dental injuries
  • Gum disease


You may have some questions about the procedure if your dentist has recommended extracting a tooth. For instance, perhaps you’re wondering how long the healing process will take after an extraction.


There’s no definite answer to this question. Factors such as the location of an extracted tooth, whether a bone graft was performed at time of the extraction and a patient’s overall health can influence healing times. However, the information here should help you better understand what the healing process might involve.


What You Need to Know About the Healing Process After a Tooth Extraction

Some pain and discomfort after a tooth extraction is normal. Your dentist may recommend managing this pain by taking over the counter drugs or applying an ice pack to the affected area. In some instances, they might recommend taking prescription pain medication, but this is rarely necessary.


Most patients notice their discomfort begins to alleviate around the third day following an extraction. If your pain persists longer than three days, or your pain seems excessive, contact your dentist right away so they can take a closer look.


Important Information About Bleeding After a Tooth Extraction

Some bleeding is likely to occur after having a tooth extracted. Bleeding may last about 24 hours after the procedure.


Patients should strive to avoid disturbing the socket where an extracted tooth once was. This includes not exploring with your tongue the extraction area.  Doing so can prevent a clot from forming properly.


Thus, during the first 24 hours after having a tooth extracted, it’s very important to get proper rest. Tips to keep in mind during this period include the following:


  • Consume only liquids and very soft foods
  • Don’t use a straw to drink
  • Don’t consume very hot beverages
  • Don’t consume alcohol
  • Don’t smoke or vape
  • Brush your teeth very gently, and avoid the socket as a clot forms
  • Minimize rinsing your mouth, as this may disturb a clot


After extracting a tooth, a dentist will usually place a piece of gauze in the socket. They may instruct you to leave this gauze in place for a certain amount of time until a clot can form. Usually 45 mins to an hour.  Heed their advice to facilitate proper healing.


Follow-Up Appointments After a Tooth Extraction

Again, healing times can vary after tooth extractions depending on various factors. For example, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the healing process after extraction of a wisdom tooth can take several weeks. The healing process may not take this long if a different tooth is extracted.


The best way to learn more about what you can expect during the healing process after a tooth extraction is to discuss the matter with your dentist. By following their advice, you’ll likely feel much more comfortable in the days and weeks following the procedure.


Your dentist will also ask that you schedule follow-up appointments after a tooth extraction. After a few weeks, the dentist will confirm the healing process has been smooth and successful.


Learn More About Tooth Extraction in Washington, DC

At Blossom Dentistry, in Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC, our team’s goal is to maximize your comfort both during and after your tooth extraction. For more information about what we can do for you, contact us online or call us at 202-922-2900.

A tooth extraction is a fairly common dental procedure. Depending on the circumstances, a patient typically doesn’t need to anticipate any significant complications after having a tooth pulled.

However, virtually any dental or medical procedure involves some risk of side effects. For example, a patient who has a tooth pulled may develop a “dry socket” after treatment. 

Seeking dental care right away is very important if a patient develops a dry socket. A dentist can offer treatments to address the discomfort this complication may result in more effectively than over-the-counter products can.


Dry Sockets After Tooth Extractions: What You Need to Know

A “socket” refers to the hole in a patient’s bone where a dentist has extracted a tooth. When a dentist pulls an adult tooth, usually, a blood clot forms in this hole.

A dry socket develops when a blood clot doesn’t form. Without a blood clot to protect them, the bone and nerve endings remain vulnerable.


Symptoms of a Dry Socket

The most common symptom of a dry socket is pain. A patient with a dry socket may begin to experience relatively severe pain a day or so after a tooth extraction.

Other common symptoms of dry sockets include:


  • Visible bone
  • Unpleasant breath
  • An unpleasant taste in a patient’s mouth


Call your dentist immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Even if your discomfort is mild, it’s important to let a professional more thoroughly examine your socket to ensure you’re healing properly after having a tooth pulled.


Risk Factors for Dry Sockets

Some patients are more likely to develop dry sockets than others. Factors that may increase a patient’s odds of developing a dry socket include:


  • General poor oral health
  • Taking medications that can interfere with the healing process after a tooth extraction, such as some types of birth control
  • Using tobacco products


Patients may also develop dry sockets as a result of not caring for their oral health after a tooth extraction or accidentally dislodging a clot that is beginning to form. To guard against this, closely follow all instructions your dentist provides you with after having a tooth pulled.


How Does a Dentist Treat a Dry Socket?

The specific treatment a dentist offers to a patient with a dry socket may vary depending on a number of factors. Treatment options often include:


  • Cleaning the socket
  • Using a paste, medicated dressing, or other such material to fill in the socket
  • Taking antibiotics
  • Taking pain medication

If you develop a dry socket, your dentist may ask you to come in for several follow-up appointments, even after offering treatment. They might need to monitor your treatment to ensure proper healing.


How Common is a Dry Socket After a Tooth Extraction?

You likely don’t have to worry about experiencing a dry socket after having a tooth pulled. According to a study in The Open Dentistry Journal, approximately 3.2% of tooth extractions result in dry sockets.

However, it’s still important to monitor yourself for signs of this issue. If you believe you have a dry socket, contact your dentist right away so they can take a closer look.


A Dry Socket Can Develop After a Tooth Extraction

Although dry sockets may not be common in general, a dry socket is nevertheless the most common complication that can result from a tooth extraction.


Are you having a tooth pulled? If so, ask your dentist to explain what you can do to minimize your chances of developing a dry socket. Contact them as soon as possible if you suspect a dry socket has developed.


Learn More About Tooth Extractions in Washington, DC

Although no dentist can promise a patient won’t experience a dry socket, at Blossom Dentistry, in Washington, DC, we strive to prevent this complication whenever possible. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at 202-922-2900 to request an appointment today.


Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!

2600 Virginia Ave NW Suite 501 Washington, DC 20037
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