Tooth extraction can be necessary to maintain your dental health, but it is important to recognize that the process can cause pain. Understanding the complications associated with tooth extraction and how long pain after tooth extraction can last would ensure that you are sufficiently informed before going through with such a procedure.
Why do you need your tooth to be extracted?
Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth and can be performed for various reasons, like:
- Damaged Teeth
If you have a damaged or broken tooth that your dental professional deems is beyond repair, they will likely recommend its removal.
- Tooth Decay
Likewise, if your tooth has decayed to the point that it can no longer be treated with a filling, root canal, or crown, it may be best for your oral health to have it pulled.
- Periodontal Disease
When bacteria build up and form plaque underneath the gums, it can cause gum disease. Its severe form is called periodontal disease, and it can erode your gum tissue and bone. This can cause your teeth to loosen and potentially require their extraction.
- Crowded Teeth
If you have a smaller jaw that doesn’t fit all of your teeth, extra teeth, or a tooth growing into or on top of the tooth next to it – your dental professional may extract a tooth to eliminate overcrowding.
What Complicates Pain After Tooth Extraction?
In some cases, pain after tooth extraction may worsen due to a number of factors.
Infection. One possibility is that the wound produced by the extracted tooth may get infected due to an unclean environment or inadequate post-surgical care.
Dry Socket. Another complication that may lead to further discomfort is a dry socket, a condition where the blood clot at the extraction site does not form properly or detaches.
Nerve damage. Damage to surrounding tissue and nerves during extraction can also result in greater pain levels after surgery.
Dry socket (alveolar osteitis) is a painful dental condition that sometimes happens after you have a permanent adult tooth extracted. A dry socket is when the blood clot at the tooth extraction site fails to develop, or it dislodges or dissolves before the wound has healed.
Normally, a blood clot forms at the site of a tooth extraction. This blood clot serves as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. The clot also provides the foundation for new bone growth and soft tissue development over the clot.
Exposure to the underlying bone and nerves results in intense pain, not only in the socket but also along the nerves radiating to the side of your face. The socket becomes inflamed and may fill with food debris, adding to the pain. If you develop a dry socket, the pain usually begins one to three days after your tooth is removed.
Dry socket is the most common complication following tooth extractions, such as the removal of third molars (wisdom teeth). Over-the-counter medications alone won’t be enough to treat dry socket pain. Your dentist or oral surgeon can offer treatments to relieve your pain.
Dry socket symptoms
Signs and symptoms of dry socket may include:
- Severe pain within a few days after a tooth extraction
- Partial or total loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site, which you may notice as an empty-looking (dry) socket
- Visible bone in the socket
- Pain that radiates from the socket to your ear, eye, temple or neck on the same side of your face as the extraction
- Bad breath or a foul odour coming from your mouth
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
When to see a doctor
A certain degree of pain and discomfort is normal after a tooth extraction. However, you should be able to manage normal pain with the pain reliever prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon, and the pain should lessen with time. If you develop new or worsening pain in the days after your tooth extraction, contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.
How Long Does Pain Last After Tooth Extraction?
The duration of pain after tooth extraction depends on numerous factors, like how difficult the procedure was, how well your body heals, whether there were any complications present, etc. Generally speaking, if no other problems arise and proper post-operative care is followed, one can expect the pain to subside within seven days. If needed, medications prescribed by your dentist can help regulate any uncomfortable sensations experienced afterwards as well.
It is important for individuals who decide to undergo tooth extractions to keep in mind that some level of discomfort may be associated with this surgical procedure and take certain measures beforehand in order to reduce any potential suffering afterwards. For instance, taking an over-the-counter analgesic prior to surgery or visiting an experienced dentist who uses efficient techniques could help minimize pain during and after the operation.
What Are Some Recovery Concerns?
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should contact your dental professional:
- If pain after your tooth extraction increases rather than decreases.
- If gum swelling after your tooth extraction gets worse with time.
- If your blood does not clot and your bleeding does not improve
- If you experience a high fever, nausea, or vomiting.
- If you have severe pain that spreads to the ear.
- Or if you have drainage from the wound that tastes or smells foul.
Recovery time and healing differ for everyone, but now you should be better prepared for what you can expect after your procedure. Ask your dental professional if you have any questions – they’re certain to give you the best aftercare advice for your specific needs. With an experienced dental professional and some good self-care after your procedure, the next time you hear, “It’s like pulling a tooth!” you may respond, “So it’s not that bad?” In fact, it may just make you smile.