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What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Tooth Extraction: Waiting a Little Bit

1. Having pain is a normal part of the recovery process. Keep in mind that pain is part of the healing process and your body’s normal reaction to the surgery. Once a tooth has been fully removed it takes anywhere from 2 to 3 days to over a week for the initial pain to subside. Make sure to take your medications as prescribed and follow the instructions to heal as quickly as possible. The level of pain after the surgery typically correlates with the complexity of the procedure. The simpler extractions heal within 2 to 3 days whereas the more complicated ones as well as wisdom teeth usually require a week or so before you start seeing improvements.

2. Once the tooth is removed properly there is not much more that your dentist or oral surgeon can do for it. An ideal extraction is when your dentist removes the tooth within a few minutes. The surgeries that end up taking longer than fifteen minutes will typically require bone removal and lots of cutting so it will hurt more afterwards. If you lose a lot of bone the dentist or oral surgeon may choose to place some bone graft to assist with the healing process and to preserve the extraction socket better. The dentist may also use sutures to bring your gum tissue together to allow for a better healing process.

Oftentimes patients who have their four wisdom teeth removed all at once return within just a day or two to re-evaluate the area but can’t even open their mouths wide enough for the dentist to see back there since their jaws are still sore. Not much your dentist can do for you if he or she can’t see the surgery site. It is best to give it some time for the initial swelling to subside before going back to the dentist or oral surgeon so he or she can thoroughly evaluate you.

3. Wisdom removals and dry sockets can lead to pain which will last for several weeks. It is very important to avoid spitting for the first day after the tooth has been removed. Applying pressure by biting on gauze is a good way to get the bleeding under control. Keep in mind that the most crucial part of the healing occurs within the first 24 to 48 hours so you must be very careful to follow the instructions and allow for proper healing to occur in this critical period.

  • Smokers and those with a long list of medical problems generally heal slower than healthier patients
  • You will also heal slower as you age so expect the recovery to take a bit longer

If you spit and don’t follow the instructions then you’re not allowing the blood clot to form and you could end up with what’s known as a dry socket. It basically means poor healing and you will suffer for a few weeks. There is not much to be done for dry sockets, there is a solution that your dentist can apply which helps a little bit, but otherwise it needs to be managed with painkillers and takes a few weeks to resolve. No additional antibiotic is indicated as a dry socket is not an infection but is simply poor healing. And of course when it comes to removing wisdom teeth, especially when the teeth are embedded under your gums or jaw bone, then assume it will hurt for one week and anything less than that is a bonus!

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What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Tooth Extraction: Going to the Dentist

What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Tooth Extraction: How to Decide

How to Decide?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Has it been more than 3 days and you are still in severe pain?
  2. If it was a complex wisdom tooth removal, has it been more than one week and you are still in severe pain?
  3. Have you been taking your antibiotics and pain killers but it’s not helping?
  4. Do you feel that there is still a piece of tooth or bone left behind?
  5. Are you having a hard time breathing?
  6. Are you still gushing blood and you can’t get the bleeding under control?

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you should go back to your dentist or oral surgeon to have the area evaluated further. If you feel the pain levels are too excessive, contact your dentist to see if they can up your medications to a stronger one. If you feel you’re not reacting well to the medications, you should contact the dentist for a substitute. You may be able to handle this over the phone and not necessarily go back to the dentist office.

If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then you should probably try to wait it out for a bit longer to see if the pain is subsiding.

Final Thought

Most pains after extractions go away with tim. How much pain you will be in has lots to do with how difficult your tooth extraction is. Easier extractions come with 2 to 3 days of pain but the more difficult ones take longer and closer to one week. Healing times of a few days to a week are normal as this is your body’s reaction to having a tooth removed. Get some rest, take your medications, follow the instructions and give your body some time to recover.

At the end of the day if you feel that you are more comfortable having your dentist or your oral surgeon re-evaluate the area then you should go ahead and contact them on phone of visit them to have your questions answered. Try to ask any questions prior to leaving the office. Most questions can be answered on the phone as well, but in certain occasions your dentist or oral surgeon will ask you to come back to the office for further evaluation.

NEXT >> What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Tooth Extraction: Going to the Dentist

What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Tooth Extraction: Waiting a Little Bit

What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Tooth Extraction: Going to the Dentist

You finally decided to have that one bad tooth removed. You had the operation and were given some painkillers and antibiotic afterwards along with some verbal and written instructions to assist you in dealing better with the ensuing pain. And you did your best … sort of! But you are still experiencing pain, much more than you had anticipated. Will it get better if you keep waiting and allow it more time to heal? Or should you go back to your dentist or oral surgeon for further evaluation to see if something else has to be done to expedite the healing process?

Pros of Going to the Dentist

1. If a piece of tooth is left behind you must have the dentist or oral surgeon remove it. Removing a tooth can be very easy or very complicated and you just never quite know which one will be the case. Some teeth come right out as a whole without any sort of complication while others will break off into pieces and must be removed in several fragments causing serious trauma to the region. When this occurs you will most likely experience some serious pain afterwards. And there will also be the chance of something going wrong such as maybe a piece of tooth, bone or instrument being left behind.

  • The worse complication is if the dentist leaves a piece of the tooth root behind. This is almost never acceptable and the fragment must be removed. The dentist should take an X-ray if he or she suspects any tooth piece is left in the socket. And if the dentist is unable to remove the fragment he or she must inform you and immediately refer you to an oral surgeon who is capable of removing it. Of course sometimes the dentist mistakingly assumes that the tooth has been fully removed and fails to take an X-ray only to find out later that there is still a fragment in there.
  • If there is a piece of broken bone or broken instrument left behind this is typically not a big deal and can be fixed easily. Bone fragments or broken instruments either come out on their own or can be removed with a tweezer like instrument by your dentist or oral surgeon. These case rarely require a second surgery to repair and are quite easy to handle. So if you are feeling something is left in there lets hope it is anything but a piece of tooth!

2. Your dentist or oral surgeon may have to up your medications. You should receive stronger pain killers and antibiotics for the more difficult surgeries. If you feel the medications you were prescribed are not getting the job done then contact your dentist or oral surgeon to see if they can prescribe you something different that will work.

  • The pain killer of choice for easier extractions is Ibuprofen (motrin) while the more complicated ones require stronger pain killers like some type of narcotics. Some patients don’t do too well with narcotics and may have to go back to relying on Ibuprofen if they can’t handle the stronger pain killers.
  • Antibiotics are usually recommended after extractions to prevent and infection from occurring. Penicillin or Amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice in most cases if you are not allergic to them otherwise you will probably be given Clindamycin, Erthromycin or some other antibiotic. Symptoms of allergies to antibiotics include difficulty breathing or itching and you should immediately stop taking the pills and contact your dentist or oral surgeon  for a possible substitute.

3. The dentist or oral surgeon can re-evaluate your healing process. Typically your dentist will automatically give you a follow-up appointment within a week or two to evaluate your healing and to remove any sutures that are still in place. If you are experiencing severe pain or other complications you can always go back to the dentist or oral surgeon to re-examine the area to make sure there is nothing else wrong. If you feel like there is something left behind you can always request an X-ray to better examine the region. But don’t forget if the dentist already took an X-ray after the extraction to make sure the tooth was fully removed then there is not much more he or she can do for you in the next few days and a new X-ray will not reveal any additional information at this stage.

NEXT >> Waiting a Little Bit

What to do if You’re Experiencing Pain After a Tooth Extraction: How to Decide