Sometimes when a tooth is too broken to repair or a cavity is too deep, a dentist may recommend the tooth be removed entirely. A common case where many people end up getting tooth extractions is with wisdom teeth, which for many people don’t grow in properly and cause pain due to a lack of space in the mouth. 

There are two types of tooth extractions each with its own expected recovery time. The first is a simple tooth extraction, and these can usually be performed by a regular dentist. A simple tooth extraction involves removing a fully grown and visible tooth by first loosening it, and then removing it with forceps. The recovery period for a simple tooth extraction is quick; your dentist will typically ask you to avoid hard foods and strenuous activities and exercise for the next 48-72 hours to give the wound a chance to clot. 

The second type of tooth extraction is called a surgical extraction and has to be performed by an oral surgeon. This type of extraction is usually done on teeth that haven’t fully grown in yet and involves making an incision in the gums in order to properly extract the teeth. Because this procedure is a surgical one and involves incisions, the recovery period is longer for these procedures than for simple tooth extractions. Usually, patients will be advised to limit their physical activity for a week or so, and they will also be prescribed several days worth of painkillers. It is also important for patients to limit what kinds of foods they’re eating for the first few days, as well as avoid the affected area when brushing and flossing until it has had a chance to heal. Most people will be able to return to their jobs or school after a few days of rest, but for those whose jobs involve a large amount of physical labor they may need to take the full week. Talk to your oral surgeon to find an aftercare plan that works for you. 

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