How Long Does Throbbing Last After Tooth Extraction?

How Long Does Throbbing Last After Tooth Extraction?

How Long Does Throbbing Last After Tooth Extraction?

Tooth extractions aren’t pleasant procedures but they aren’t painful either thanks to anaesthetics. However, once your anaesthetic or sedation has worn off, you will experience some pain in the area your tooth was removed. The blood flow feels like a throbbing feeling in your jaw, gums and possibly your cheek, depending on which tooth was removed and for what reason.

Fortunately, the throbbing doesn’t last too long and there are effective ways to combat the pain. Let’s look at how to deal with the throbbing pain after tooth extraction and what to do if it lasts longer than it should.

What to Expect After Your Tooth Extraction

What to Expect After Your Tooth Extraction

A dentist will perform a tooth extraction if you have a problematic tooth that can’t be fixed, is severely infected or impacting others such as a wisdom tooth growing into the neighbouring molar. Tooth extraction at the dentist is the only safe way to have teeth removed, so however afraid you may be, or exasperated at not being able to get a timely appointment on the NHS, always go to a dentist for a tooth extraction to reduce any risk of complications. Paying for private dental care is worth it when your health is at stake.

The procedure will be done under local anaesthetic, although it can be done at the hospital under sedation if necessary; tooth extraction isn’t painful, however, once the anaesthetic has worn off, you will experience some discomfort. Sometimes teeth can be easily wiggled out of position, while other times the tooth needs to be cut and extracted in parts which can take longer and cause more swelling in the area afterwards.

Whichever kind of tooth extraction you’ve had, your dentist will give you a long list of dos and don’ts following the procedure so you can help the socket heal and prevent bleeding or other complications.

The first few hours after the extraction are the most crucial as this is when the blood clot forms over the socket where the tooth was extracted. This reddish-brown jelly-like substance forms a seal over the wound to prevent bacteria and food particles from entering and encourage nerves and tissue to regrow. If the blood clot is moved, the healing process can be painful and more complicated.

How Long Does Throbbing Last After Tooth Extraction?

How Long Does Throbbing Last After Tooth Extraction?

The throbbing sensation after tooth extraction can vary from person to person, but it eases over time. In general, you can expect the throbbing to be most intense in the first few hours after the extraction once the anaesthetic has worn off and the blood rushes to the socket, but it will gradually decrease over the next 24 to 48 hours.

The initial throbbing is often a result of the trauma to the surrounding tissues during the extraction procedure. As you’ll usually be awake during the procedure, you can tell how hard it is for the dentist to extract the tooth and estimate how much your jaw will throb afterwards. The dentist will strive to take the tooth out as comfortably as possible, but in some cases when the teeth are very strong or when impacted wisdom teeth haven’t properly erupted from the jaw, the procedure can be more difficult.

How to Manage Pain Following Tooth Extraction

How to Manage Pain Following Tooth Extraction

Your dentist will advise you to avoid strenuous activity for the first 24 to 48 hours following your tooth extraction as this will increase your blood flow and may cause the socket to bleed and throb more as the blood flows through the area. You should also take painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen to reduce the throbbing feeling, ear or headaches and allow you to recover in more comfort.

Be careful not to take ibuprofen on an empty stomach, however, as it can cause stomach irritation, which you’ll want to avoid. Cold compresses and ice packs can also be useful to put on the side of your face intermittently to help reduce the swelling which will reduce any throbbing pain.

While your face throbs, you should continue avoiding intense exercise to help it recover and heal well. However, if the throbbing pain doesn’t seem to be reducing, the swelling isn’t going down or you’ve looked at the wound and see some signs of an infection, you should take action quickly to prevent complications.

What to Do if the Pain Doesn’t Subside

If the pain doesn’t subside even after taking painkillers, you may be developing a tooth infection, also known as an abscess. If you had a tooth extraction due to an abscess, the dentist will have drained the area, and removed the bacteria and infected tissue, so you shouldn’t have an infection after the extraction. However, if the socket hasn’t been kept sufficiently clean or had a blood clot form, known as a dry socket, there is a higher risk of infection in the socket.

The following symptoms are clear signs of an infection:

  • Increasing swelling
  • Continuous throbbing
  • Redness of the gums or skin
  • Yellowy-white discharge from the area
  • A bad taste in the mouth

If you have any of these, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible as they may need to treat the infection. You cannot go to a GP or hospital to have treatment for dental issues unless the symptoms are life-threatening.

If your only symptom is continued throbbing for more than 2 days, continue using ice packs to reduce swelling and rinse your mouth with a saline solution to reduce the risk of developing an infection.

Eating After Your Tooth Extraction

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You’ll also need to watch what you eat and drink after your tooth extraction to reduce pain and prevent infections. Drinking hot drinks like coffee and tea should be avoided for at least 72 hours as they can dissolve the blood clot that’s there to prevent infections and help the wound heal. Fizzy drinks can also disturb the blood clot, so it’s best to avoid them for at least 72 hours after your tooth extraction.

All food and drink should be avoided for the first 3 hours after the procedure so the gum can heal well, but when you begin eating, certain foods should be avoided because they can be painful to consume and may get stuck in the socket, causing more pain or potentially an infection. Some foods you should avoid for at least the first 5 days include:

  • Crunchy foods
  • Crumbly foods
  • Spicy food
  • Food with seeds
  • Hard, chewy food

Instead, you should eat room temperature, soft foods and soups with soft bread to maintain nutrition levels without hurting your gum or disturbing your blood clot to enable proper, comfortable healing.

Alcohol and Smoking: What to Watch Out For

You shouldn’t smoke for at least 7 days after your tooth extraction as the action of smoking itself can disturb the blood clot in the same way as drinking through a straw, as well as the chemical components of tobacco preventing proper healing of the socket. So whether you smoke cigarettes, or other substances, vape or smoke a pipe, you should give up all of them for at least a week after your tooth extraction. Nicotine patches can be useful for people to prevent withdrawals and cravings, but the NHS also has a great deal of helpful advice for those trying to give up smoking.

The blood clot will slowly dissolve naturally over the week after your procedure, but smoking isn’t safe until the socket has sufficiently healed and the blood clot has gone completely.

Alcohol should also be avoided in all forms after your tooth extraction as the alcohol can dissolve the blood clot which will prevent healing. This is why mouthwash containing alcohol should also be avoided for one week after your tooth extraction and saline solutions should be used for gentle rinses to clean the mouth instead.

Need Dental Care? Contact Didsbury Dental Practice

If you need a regular check-up or an emergency tooth extraction, Didsbury Dental Practice can help! Located in Manchester and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Didsbury Dental Practice can help you at a time that suits you with whatever dental issue you have.

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