Pain After Tooth Extraction

It is common to experience pain after tooth extraction. Depending on the amount of trauma and the procedure done, the patient may experience pain, ranging from tolerable to severe, which may last for a few days or longer. Management of pain after tooth extraction by a dentist or oral surgeon usually consists of pain medications. What should you do to manage tooth pain after extraction? What are things to be done immediately after the procedure, 2 days after procedure and even 7 days after procedure?

Pain after Tooth Extraction

The pain after tooth extraction usually lasts for three days. However, the area may remain tender for a few more days. Dentists often warn patients not to use straw for drinking because this might pull out blood clots and bleeding may ensue. The dry sockets that remain when gums do not close right away may also leave a dull ache, which may last for at least a week.

When to Take the First Dose of Pain Killer

Pain after tooth extraction may begin to be felt when the anesthesia effect wears off. To prevent this, one must take the first dose of pain killer before the numbness from the local anesthesia goes away. Ask the dentist for the exact time. However, you must eat some food before taking the medication, which may cause stomach upset.

What Should You Know about Pain Killer Use after Tooth Extraction?

Oral pain killers used after tooth extraction include:

  • For mild pain: Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) at a dose of 400-800 mg every four hours or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) at a dose of 500-1000 mg every four hours.
  • For moderate pain: Codeine at 15-60 mg or Hydrocodone at 5-10 mg
  • For severe pain: Oxycodone 2.5-10mg

Notes: Narcotic pain relievers such as codeine and oxycodone are usually prescribed by the dentist/oral surgeon and must be taken as directed. Pain killers must be taken with food in the stomach to prevent abdominal discomfort. Narcotics can cause drowsiness, so patients must limit their activities and avoid driving.

First 24 Hours after Tooth Extraction


Pain after tooth extraction is usually greatest in the first twelve hours after the procedure. There may be some bleeding and swelling of the gums as well as soreness and tenderness in the tooth socket. However, with pain killers, these symptoms may subside within 24 hours. Wisdom tooth extraction may result in bleeding and pain that lasts for 3 days.

Bleeding Swelling and Oozing:

Gum bleeding after tooth extraction may be reduced by eating a soft or liquid diet on the side away from the site of tooth extraction in the first 24 hours. Drinking through a straw must be avoided, as well as alcohol intake and smoking. Ice application may help reduce swelling.

For surgical tooth extractions, the swelling may increase after the first 24 hours. You may have to continue taking liquids and soft foods and avoid smoking, which can cause a blood clot to dislodge. The socket area must be kept clean to avoid infection. Mouth rinsing with warm saline 24 hours after tooth extraction helps reduce swelling.

Sometimes oozing occurs after wisdom tooth extractions. To control this, you can use a small gauze or a tea bag to bite on.

48 Hours after Tooth Extraction

There is no significant pain two days after tooth extraction. If severe throbbing and radiating pain is present, you may have a dry socket, where the blood clot may have been dislodged. A dressing is usually given because pain medications and antibiotics may not be effective in treating the condition. Swelling may become more pronounced after surgical tooth extraction.

Swelling peaks after the second day but starts decreasing thereafter. Persistent swelling suggests an infection. After extraction of the wisdom tooth or complicated extractions, slight bleeding may occur after three days. Continue warm saline rinsing and avoid smoking to prevent delayed healing.

72 Hours after Tooth Extraction

If you experience severe pain 3 days after tooth extraction, visit your dental surgeon. The pain may be due to a dry socket which delays recovery. You should have no bleeding after 3 days and swelling must be reduced. You may continue rinsing with warm saline to keep the socket area clean and avoid infection.

5 Days after Tooth Extraction

Pain and swelling continue to subside after the fourth day. Warm saline mouth rinses and good oral hygiene help prevent secondary infection.

7 Days after Tooth Extraction

No more pain is present 7 days after tooth extraction. However, with surgical tooth extraction, the oral surgeon will remove non-resorbable stitches, which is usually painless. No anesthesia is needed.

How to Speed Recovery after Tooth Extraction

Recovery after tooth extraction usually takes a few days. To minimize your discomfort, speed recovery, and reduce your risk of infection you may:

  • Take prescribed painkillers.
  • Reduce gum bleeding by biting on a gauze pad and allowing a clot to form in your tooth socket. Change gauze pads before they become soaked with blood and continue doing this for 3-4 hours.
  • Reduce swelling by applying an ice bag to affected area for 10 minutes.
  • Rest for the first 24 hours after extraction and limit activities for the next two days.
  • Avoid rinsing and spitting forcefully to avoid clot dislodging from the socket.
  • Rinse your mouth with saline solution made from half a teaspoon of salt and a glass of warm water.
  • Do not use a straw for drinking for 24 hours.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Eat soft or liquid foods, such as pudding, yogurt, soup, or applesauce after tooth extraction. Add solid foods gradually to your diet as gum heals.
  • Use a pillow when lying down to reduce bleeding.
  • Avoid the extraction site when brushing and flossing your teeth to prevent bleeding and infection.
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