Your dentist has told you that one of your teeth needed root canal therapy to deal with the serious decay within its center. Unfortunately, due to your fears about the rumored pain of root canals, you put off treatment for so long that now the tooth needs to be pulled. How long will it take for you to recover after the procedure? How can you make the healing process as easy as possible? In this post, we’ll answer your basic questions about what to expect from a tooth extraction in Burlington.
Why Might You Need a Tooth Extraction?
Typically, a dentist will recommend that a tooth be removed if:
- It’s broken beyond repair, whether by fracture or decay
- Serious gum disease has weakened the bone supporting it
- Room needs to be made for orthodontic treatment, a denture, or dental implant
- It has become impacted (stuck) or infected (which is often the case with wisdom teeth)
How Long Does It Take to Recover from an Extraction?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors, like the location and size of the tooth, your dental health, and how well you comply with aftercare instructions.
For a simple extraction (which entails pulling a tooth that has already erupted past the gumline), recovery usually doesn’t take long at all. Normally, you’ll be asked to spend the next 48-72 hours resting in order for a blood clot to properly form at the extraction site. After that, you should be able to resume your regular level of exercise. The gums should be all healed up in about three or four weeks.
A surgical extraction is a bit more complex. This is when a tooth remains in the gum and jawbone. Your dentist will likely suggest that you take it easy for the first 48-72 hours, and then keep your physical activity to a minimum for the next week or so before getting back to your normal schedule.
How Much Time Will You Have to Take Off Work?
This depends almost entirely on how much physical activity is required for your job. Your dentist and you should discuss how much recovery time you’re going to need after your extraction so you can go over that with your employer if need be.
Tips for a Smooth Recovery
To ensure a speedy recovery from a tooth extraction, stick to the following tips:
- Don’t brush, floss, or chew near the extraction for the first few days
- Don’t spit, rinse, or use a straw for the first 24 hours to allow a blood clot to form
- Avoid smoking, as this could lead to an infection
- Avoid strenuous exercise so as not to dislodge the blood clot
- Sleep with your head in an elevated position to prevent bleeding
- Manage swelling and pain with a cold compress and prescribed medication
Thanks to advancements in modern dental technology, most dental extractions are relatively short and simple. Of course, to avoid the need for an extraction in the first place, it’s imperative that you brush, floss, and regularly see your dentist in Burlington for a checkup!
About the Author
Dr. James Kostas has been a practicing dentist in the Burlington, MA community for almost thirty years. He has achieved Fellowship status in both the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Implant Association. After your extraction, he can easily fill the gap with a dental implant right in his office. To learn more about tooth extractions, or all your options for replacing the tooth afterwards, visit Dr. Kostas’ website.