Dentists aim to save your teeth wherever possible. However, sometimes a tooth is too damaged or decayed to save. In these cases, dentists have to extract the tooth.
Tooth extraction is a routine dental procedure that requires a single appointment and a short recovery period. However, it’s essential to understand how to manage tooth extraction pain in case you feel any discomfort following your appointment.
Why Do You Need a Tooth Extraction?
The most common reason for tooth extraction is infection. If tooth decay or damage goes too deep, bacteria in the mouth can get to the pulp (the tooth’s centre containing nerves and blood vessels). Other causes for dental extractions include:
- Gum disease or gingivitis
- Wisdom teeth
- Fractured tooth
- Tooth abscess
What to Expect During Your Tooth Extraction?
Although you may feel nervous before the appointment, dental extractions are relatively quick, and anaesthesia is available to make you more comfortable. Your dentist administers a local anaesthetic in the gum at the extraction site for a simple extraction. This numbs the area, so you don’t feel pain during the procedure. However, you may feel some pressure.
If you’re having a more complex extraction, such as an impacted wisdom tooth removal, you may be unconscious during the procedure. The general anaesthesia we use will put you to sleep, so you aren’t aware of any pain.
During the procedure, your dentist removes any portion of the gum or bone that’s blocking access to the tooth. This is usually the case for teeth still partially beneath the gum line, such as an impacted wisdom tooth.
If the tooth doesn’t move, your dentist may carefully remove it in pieces. Then they use forceps to gently rock the tooth loose from the jawbone and ligaments. When the tooth is removed, your dentist stitches up the affected area.
How to Manage Tooth Extraction Pain?
After your dentist removes your tooth, the site might bleed. If this occurs, your dentist may ask you to bite down on a piece of gauze to stem the flow. Bleeding is normal for 8-12 hours after tooth removal. If it lasts longer or there’s no clot formation, call your dentist to ask about the next steps.
Once the anaesthetic wears off, you might experience some mild discomfort. Talk to your dentist about getting a prescription for pain relief medicine or recommendations for over-the-counter medication.
Here are some self-care options to lessen any tooth extraction pain you feel in the hours following the procedure.
Apply a cold compress
You can try placing a cold compress on your cheek to relieve swelling and reduce any bruising. Alternate between applying and removing it in 20-minute intervals.
Take OTC medications
Some over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen, help relieve tooth extraction pain quickly and safely. Talk to your dentist before using any type of medication after tooth extraction.
Rest with your head elevated
If you need to rest, try to keep your head higher than usual by using an extra pillow. This helps reduce swelling and promotes clotting, which allows you to heal faster.
Eat a soft food diet
Stick to soft foods such as yoghurt, pudding, and applesauce. These foods are easy to eat with minimal chewing and won’t irritate the gums at the extraction site.
Rinse with saline solution
Rinse your mouth with a saline solution or salt water beginning 24 hours after your tooth removal.
How Long Does Pain the Last After Dental Extractions?
Many people wonder, ‘how long does the pain last after tooth extraction?’ The healing process of most dental extractions takes about one to two weeks. However, the pain usually goes away after a tooth extraction within 24 to 72 hours. It is important to remember that everyone heals differently, so how long does the pain last after tooth extraction varies from person to person.
Without proper aftercare, you may experience a secondary condition called dry socket. A dry socket is when the blood clot in the extraction socket doesn’t form or has been dislodged. The bone of the socket walls becomes visible, which can be very painful.
You may have a dry socket if you have pain radiating from the socket where the tooth was extracted to your ear, eye, temple or neck.
Other symptoms of a dry socket include:
- Severe pain
- A partial or total loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site
- An empty-looking socket
- Visible bone in the socket
Additionally, you may experience bad breath or a foul odour and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Visit Complete Dental to Care for Your Oral Health
It’s important to know how to manage tooth extraction pain. That’s why it’s essential to understand what to expect after the dental extractions and how to care for yourself.
If you have never had a tooth extracted and are worried about post-extraction discomfort or recovery, we can walk you through the process, so you feel reassured before your appointment. Call our friendly team at Complete Dental in Coorparoo on (07) 3801 6503 to arrange your dental appointment.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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