To understand how long it takes to recover from any medical procedure, it’s important to think about what recovery is:
Recovery might be thought of as the point where you return to normal functioning after a procedure. That could mean no pain, no alterations to what or how you’re eating, moving around, or working – basically, the point where you can go about your day without worrying about the procedure.
Let’s start with pain. Generally, pain subsides after a tooth extraction within 48-72 hours; it should go away completely not too long after that. Now, the actual amount of time varies substantially; there are patients who can go about their day immediately after an extraction with no painkillers, and there are those for whom painkillers are necessary.
In terms of functioning, you won’t be eating much of anything for the first 24 hours; very soft foods only. Your dentist can recommend a number of foods – this ban on tough, chewy or hard foods will stay in place for at least five days after your surgery. You’ll also want to avoid using straws for at least a week, as the suction can destroy the blood clotting that’s necessary for healing. In the same vein, you won’t be able to smoke.
When it comes to activities, you should take the day off once your extraction is complete; avoiding mouth injuries is particularly crucial right after the surgery. You may be able to go back to work the following day, provided your work isn’t too strenuous and you’re not in too much pain.
You can expect swelling for the first two or three days, and periodic bleeding for about the first 12 to 24 hours after surgery. When an extraction on an impacted tooth in the lower jaw is completed, you may feel numbness in your tongue for days or even weeks.
As you can see, depending on your definition of “recovery”, the recovery period could be considered days (when the pain goes away and you can work and eat like you used to), one to two weeks (when you can start using a straw and smoking again, and when for most people there’s almost no pain), or more (when your tongue stops being numb from the extraction, in certain cases).
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, your dentist will always be there to handle any questions, whether they be about bleeding on the first day or numbness on the 30th. Everyone’s recovery frame will look a little different, but your Winnipeg dentist will be there to guide you through the whole process, every step of the way.