Tooth Extraction Healing Time: What To Expect

Are you dreading an upcoming tooth extraction? Whether you’re scared of the dentist or someone told you a terrifying tooth-pulling story, tooth extraction can feel like a nightmare for many people.

We’re not here to tell you that a tooth extraction is a pleasant experience — but it’s not as bad as you think! If your dentist has suggested one, it’s because the procedure is necessary for your oral health and will likely save you a lot of pain and possibly more dental visits in the future. We can tell you, though, that knowing what to expect after a tooth extraction can make the whole ordeal much more manageable and give you peace of mind before the procedure. 

In this article, we’re breaking down everything you need to know in the weeks following a tooth extraction procedure, including what the tooth extraction healing stages are, how long a tooth extraction takes to heal, and share some aftercare tips to help you get back to smiling in no time.


Before diving into the specifics of the tooth extraction healing process, remember that the tooth removal procedure is relatively painless. 

There are two types of tooth extraction techniques: simple and surgical extractions. Dentists perform simple extractions when the tooth or teeth that need to be removed are visible inside the mouth. On the other hand, surgical extractions happen when the tooth or teeth are still beneath the gum line, which is often the case for wisdom teeth. 

Whether your dentist recommends a simple or surgical extraction, there are many options available to make the procedure pain and anxiety-free, including local anesthesia and mild sedation. In more serious cases, oral sedatives might be administered to put you to sleep during the extraction process. 

After the procedure, it’s normal to feel some pain once the anesthesia wears off. Your dentist will likely recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever to help you manage post-operative discomfort or a more powerful prescription analgesic if your extraction was complex or required extensive surgery of the gums and bone. 

Here’s what you can expect from your tooth extraction healing process:

Immediately Post-Surgery

Immediately after your tooth extraction procedure, whether simple or surgical, you might experience some bleeding and discomfort. If you’ve undergone a surgical extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will provide specific instructions tailored to your procedure. You may have sutures that require special care, and your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. 

For both types of extractions, it’s essential to rest and avoid any strenuous activities to allow the blood clot at the extraction site to form properly. You may also be advised to apply ice packs to the outside of your cheek to reduce swelling and discomfort.

First 24 Hours

During the first 24 hours after tooth extraction, it’s important to continue managing bleeding or swelling. For simple extractions, biting down on gauze pads may be enough to help control bleeding. For surgical extractions, you may need to be more diligent about post-operative care, follow a specific diet, and avoid activities that could disrupt the surgical site. 

Be sure to take any prescribed pain medications and avoid drinking through a straw or rinsing your mouth vigorously to prevent dislodging the blood clot. In the first 24 hours following tooth removal:

  • Stick to a soft diet to avoid putting pressure on the extraction site. Opt for foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup, and smoothies.
  • Avoid hot, spicy, or crunchy foods that could irritate the extraction site.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, but avoid using straws.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcoholic or carbonated beverages. 

Days 2 and 3

As you progress into days 2 and 3 after your tooth extraction, you may still experience some swelling and discomfort, but these symptoms should gradually improve. Regardless of the type of extraction, continue to manage pain and inflammation with medication and ice packs. 

Stick to soft foods to avoid irritating the tooth extraction site after 3 days, and be gentle when brushing your teeth. For surgical extractions, continue monitoring the site and stitches for any signs of infection or complications. Additionally:

  • Apply ice packs intermittently to reduce swelling, especially in the first 24 hours.
  • Opt for nutritious liquids like smoothies and broths, soft proteins like scrambled eggs and yogurt, and soft fruits and vegetables like mashed bananas or potatoes.
  • Continue avoiding hot, spicy, or crunchy foods. 
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water after meals to keep the area clean.
  • Refrain from smoking or using tobacco products, as they can negatively affect the healing process.

Days 4 – 10 

Tooth extraction healing times vary from person to person. However, by days 4 through 10, you should notice significant improvement for simple and surgical extractions. Any swelling and discomfort should continue to decrease, and you may start to reintroduce regular foods into your diet. 

Continue practicing good oral hygiene by gently brushing and rinsing your mouth with salt water, especially for surgical extractions. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience unexpected symptoms or complications, such as excessive bleeding or severe pain.


How long does swelling last after tooth extraction?

Swelling after a tooth extraction typically peaks within 24 to 48 hours and then gradually subsides over the following days. In most cases, swelling should significantly improve within a week after the procedure.

How long does it take for gums to heal after tooth extraction?

The healing of your gums following a tooth extraction varies depending on factors such as the complexity of the extraction and individual healing abilities. Generally, gum tissue can take one to two weeks to heal fully.

H3: Which teeth take longer to heal after an extraction?

Certain teeth, particularly molars located at the back of the mouth, may take longer to heal after extraction because of their size and location. However, tooth extraction healing times can vary for each tooth. For example, front tooth extraction healing time is typically shorter than that of molars.

What should I avoid after a tooth extraction?

After a tooth extraction, it’s essential to avoid certain activities that can interfere with the healing process, including:

  • Smoking or using tobacco products – smoke and nicotine can increase pain, trigger inflammation, and delay healing.
  • Drinking through a straw.
  • Vigorous rinsing or spitting.
  • Eating hard, crunchy, or spicy foods.
  • Touching the extraction site with your fingers or tongue.

How many rest days do I need after a tooth extraction?

The number of days you need to take after a tooth extraction will vary depending on the complexity of the procedure, your pain tolerance, and your body’s individual healing abilities. Typically, one to two days of rest is recommended to allow the body to recover adequately. However, some people may need a week or longer to fully heal in more complex surgical extractions.

H3: How do I know if my tooth extraction is healing normally?

Signs that indicate normal healing after a tooth extraction include:

  • Swelling, pain, and discomfort subside over time.
  • Formation of a blood clot at the extraction site.
  • Gradual improvement in your ability to eat and drink.
  • Pink, healthy-looking gum tissue around the extraction site.

What should I do if I suspect complications?

If you suspect complications, such as excessive bleeding, severe pain, swelling, signs of infection (like a fever or foul odor coming from the extraction site), or if you believe your tooth extraction healing time is taking longer than it should, please get in touch with your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.


Here at MR Dental Aesthetics, we understand that a tooth extraction can be a scary and uncomfortable experience. That’s why we have a team of skilled professionals led by award-winning periodontist Dr. Rashti, who are dedicated to your safety and comfort throughout the entire process.

Our commitment to providing every patient with a world-class experience means you’ll always be seen by Dr. Rashti herself, who’ll listen to your concerns with the utmost respect and privacy and create a unique action plan customized to your oral health needs. She has extensive experience in treating phobic patients and uses a gentle approach to minimize anxiety and discomfort.

Whether you need periodontal treatment or a cosmetic procedure, you can trust that with Dr. Rashti’s health first and cosmetic second approach, your well-being is always her top priority. Visit us at MR Dental Aesthetics and experience the difference for yourself!

Call 310-623-3330 or click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rashti today.

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