Best 15 tips to good healing after a tooth removal

What is tooth removal?

Tooth removal or tooth extraction is the surgical removal of a tooth. Your  tooth is held to the surrounding ( alveolar ) bone by way of a ligament called the periodontal ligament. The principle of tooth removal involves the disruption or severing of these ligament fibres. Your dentist will decide to remove your teeth because of different reasons. Whatever is the cause of a tooth removal, your tooth is removed under a local anaesthetic. So you will not feel the pain during removal.

Why is my tooth removed?

Your tooth is removed when it is

Is tooth removal painful?

No ………. tooth removal is a painless procedure in modern dental practice because of the use of highly efficient local aesthetics and better armamentarium

Your dentist performs a tooth removal under a local anaesthetic. He will anaesthetise and numb the specific area of the mouth where a tooth has to be removed. Once the numbness sets in, your dentist proceeds to remove your tooth. If your tooth is severely infected, your dentist will prescribe some  antibiotics and painkillers that you should start on before the procedure.


How soon can I eat after a tooth extraction?

The numbing effect of the local anaesthetic wears off by about 45-60 minutes post extraction. Chewing on food during this time can be damaging to the tongue and lips. It is best to eat soft, cold food after an hour of extraction. Avoid any hard, crunchy, spicy or hot food stuff for upto 48 hours after the procedure. Also, its best to avoid taking carbonated drinks. Any sucking action, like using a straw, is to be avoided.

Does tooth removal cause swelling?

No……….A routine and normal tooth removal does not cause swelling. You can feel the numbness of the aesthetic for some time that can give the perception of a swelling. However, in rare instances of severe infection or other complications or improper post operative care, you can have a swelling.

Generally, healing after a tooth removal is good if you follow your dentists’ instructions. However, in some cases of difficult tooth removal, you can have some swelling initially. Your dentists will recommend that you apply a COLD PACK after a tooth removal to ease the pain and swelling. Hot packs SHOULD NOT be applied in a tooth pain condition.

Can I have bleeding after a tooth removal?

Removing a tooth from your mouth creates a socket or a “hole”. Blood coming in from the surrounding bone helps in the healing of this socket. The blood forms a clot to promote bone formation and gum healing in the socket. Because of the high blood supply in your jaws, you can see traces of blood in your saliva  24 to 48 hours after a tooth removal. This is normal. However if you see a heavy bleeding after tooth removal, talk to your dentist. Your dentist will recommend some blood tests to investigate a haemostaic problem.

How can I stop bleeding after tooth removal?

Some amount of bleeding happens after your dentist removes a tooth. Traces of blood in your saliva for upto 24 hours is normal. You can follow these steps to stop any bleeding after a tooth removal.

  • Bite on wet gauze placed on the extraction socket.
  • Bite on tea bags.
  • Avoid talking for the first 1 hour after removal. Tongue movements can dislodge the blood clot from the socket.
  • Avoid using a straw.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Do not eat hard, crumbly foods.
  • Keep your head raised above your heart.
  • Do not rinse your mouth vigorously.

If you face any problems with pain or excessive bleeding, talk to your dentist.

How long do I keep the gauze after extraction?

Your dentist will keep a piece of gauze in your mouth after tooth removal. The gauze serves two purposes

  • To keep the blood clot intact in the extraction socket. This helps healing of the area.
  • To prevent you from biting on the lips, cheek or tongue till the numbness wears off.

The numbing effect of the anaesthetic remains for upto an hour. So it is best to bite on the gauze for so long as the numbness lasts.

How long does it take to recover from a tooth extraction?

When your dentist removes a tooth, an empty socket remains in the place of your tooth. The blood from the surrounding bone flows into the socket and forms a clot. This clot promotes healing of the socket. The initial healing takes a 7-10 days. It takes 5-6 weeks for the area to heal completely. However, you can experience a  mild discomfort in the extracted area for the first 2-3 days. Your dentist will instruct you on the post extraction care. If you have a wisdom tooth removal, the socket may take a little longer time to heal.

Do I have to remove my wisdom tooth always?

An improperly erupted wisdom tooth is a candidate for removal. A wisdom tooth that erupts in a different angle than the normal is considered as an ‘Impacted tooth’. Such teeth tend to be fused to the surrounding bone. This causes pain and swelling in that area. Then a wisdom tooth has to be removed.

What can I eat after a wisdom tooth removal?

Wisdom tooth removal is a small surgical procedure. Hence, eating your normal foods after tooth removal is difficult. Your dentist will advise you on your diet. Generally soft, non spicy and cold foods are recommended. So here is a list of foods you can eat after a wisdom tooth removal

  1. Blended soups
  2. Ice creams
  3. Milkshakes
  4. Smoothies
  5. Mashed Banana
  6. Yogurt
  7. Broths
  8. Jelly
  9. Pudding
  10. Scrambled eggs
  11. Soft cheese
  12. Applesauce
  13. Pureed seedless fruit
  14. Pureed or mashed vegetables
  15. Mashed beans

What should I avoid after a tooth removal?

Your tooth removal causes a small wound in your mouth. You have to take good care of the area, so it can heal well. Your dentist will guide you on the Do’s and Dont’s after a tooth removal. However, you can follow these instruction to avoid a post extraction complication.

  • Acidic foods ( Citrus juices ) that can irritate the wound
  • Spicy foods ( Peppers )
  • Tough foods ( Pizza, Burgers, popcorn ) can cause irritation and pain
  • Grains and seeds that can get stuck in the socket
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco ( Cigarettes and smokeless )

Luke warm salt water rinsing 24 hours after tooth removal helps in faster healing of the extraction wound.

Why do I have severe pain after tooth removal?

A peak in the pain after 24 hours after a tooth removal may be normal, especially after the removal of a wisdom tooth. If the pain persists for

  • longer than 48 hours
  • You see an empty dry, greyish-white colour in the socket instead of a red filled area
  • pain does not subside with medications
  • a foul odour emitting from the site
  • Pain radiating to the jaw, ear and the temples

Then see your dentist immediately. The chances of a “dry socket” in the extracted area is a high possibility. Your dentist will do the necessary procedures to relieve the pain and promote healing in the extraction site.

Is it ok to sleep after tooth extraction?

Following an extraction, it is best to sleep with the head elevated. This helps the body drain more fluid away from the extraction site. If you lie flat on your back, the swelling is likely to increase. The pain can also be intolerable and the bleeding from the socket can restart due to the pressure. It is advisable to be seated upright in a comfortable chair for a few hours after extraction rather than lying down.

When can I start brushing after a tooth removal?

Generally, the first 2-3 days after your tooth removal is critical for the healing. Avoid rigorous rinsing or tongue movements during this time. However, you can resume brushing your teeth 24 hours after tooth removal. Take care not to disturb the area during brushing. Avoid commercial mouth rinses. Luke warm salt water rinsing after 24 hours helps in faster healing.


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