Tooth extraction is typically used as a last resort when a tooth is too damaged to be repaired. Wisdom teeth are the exception to this practice because they are the only set of teeth that most people do not need. However, dentists often recommend extracting wisdom teeth even if they are healthy, and it is…
What Healing After a Tooth Extraction Looks Like
Decay, infections, and overcrowding are all reasons for tooth extraction. According to Healthline, it is the oral surgical procedure most often performed. Like any operation, an extraction can put the patient at risk for an infection or other postoperative complications. Patients should observe the surgical site following extraction to look for potential problems. However, it is also necessary to know what normal healing looks like so that the patient can differentiate between what is normal and what is abnormal.
Normal signs of healing
The gum tissue around the site of tooth extraction starts to close up around 72 hours after removal. However, even before that point, the patient can start to identify signs of healing.
Clotting at the extraction site starts to form within the first 24 hours of the extraction procedure. It appears as a dark-colored scab. Patients should monitor the site to confirm that the blood clot forms as it should. However, nothing should be done to disturb the blood clot. If it becomes dislodged, it can cause a painful complication known as dry socket.
The next step in the healing process is the transformation of the blood clot into granulation tissue. This consists of blood vessels, white blood cells, and collagen, which help fight infection and fill in the hole from the tooth extraction. The granulation tissue can appear white or cream-colored. The process of granulation begins as soon as the blood clot is fully formed and can take up to seven days to complete.
Abnormal symptoms of complications
To the untrained eye, normal signs of healing can appear similar to abnormal symptoms. Any signs of which the patient is suspicious that are accompanied by extreme pain should be evaluated by the oral surgeon as soon as possible.
Pus is a sign of infection. It appears as a thick liquid that is yellow or white. It may also be accompanied by a bad taste in the patient's mouth, continued bleeding or swelling, worsening pain, and fever. The surgeon can prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection after confirming its presence through testing.
Missing blood clot
Sometimes the blood clot never forms or becomes dislodged prematurely, before it has a chance to convert into granulation tissue. This can cause a painful complication of tooth extraction called dry socket. Severe pain that starts at the extraction site and radiates to other areas of the face, such as the temple, eye, or ear, may alert the patient to the presence of dry socket before the missing blood clot is discovered. However, the patient may also observe a whitish color at the extraction site from exposed bones and nerves, as well as dryness or emptiness of the socket.
Patients should observe the extraction site for symptoms of complication as well as signs of healing. Any changes to the surgical wound that cause concern should be brought to the attention of the oral surgeon, especially if accompanied by extreme pain.
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