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Having a tooth extraction can be a painful procedure. Luckily, thanks to anesthesia, you likely won’t feel any pain during the extraction. You will experience some swelling and some potential pain afterwards though. It’s important to know how long the swelling should last and what you can do about it. This will help you to know when to contact the dentist if the swelling persists.

Why Are Teeth Extracted?

Many people get a tooth extracted at some point in their lives. Wisdom teeth extractions are one of the most common tooth extractions.

If you’re getting braces, your dentist will check to see how your teeth fit in your mouth. To help the braces to be more effective, you might need to have an extraction.

According to the Milwaukee dentists at West Allis Dental Care (https://www.westallisdentalcare.com), extractions may be necessary to treat infections or gum disease. This often isn’t the first choice of dentists, but it’s sometimes the best option.

What Can Influence the Pain You Experience After the Extraction?

There are a few different factors that go into the pain that you experience.

  • Your sensitivity and pain threshold
  • How much damage the tissue sustained
  • How bad the infection or disease was

It’s a good idea to have a way to manage the pain prepared. After the procedure, you likely won’t feel like going out to buy ice packs and Tylenol.

How Long Should the Swelling Last After the Tooth Extraction?

According to iDental Hub, the swelling should last for four to six days. Your dentist may give you specifics based on your procedure. Follow your dentist’s timeframe if they give you one, because it will be more applicable to your procedure.

You will likely feel some pain for the first 24 to 72 hours. It may last longer, but it depends on the type of extraction and your pain threshold. There are plenty of painkillers available to help with this.

How to Manage the Swelling and Pain from a Tooth Extraction

Many dentists will recommend a painkiller such as Tylenol. It’s best to use a combination of Tylenol and ibuprofen. If you use this combination, be cautious. Be sure to follow the health guidelines for these painkillers.

Make sure you follow the guidelines from your dentist. If the medication that they suggested isn’t working, ask for another recommendation. In some cases, your dentist will provide a prescription painkiller for you to take.

You can also manage the pain and swelling with other methods. You should use ice packs for 10 to 20 minutes, then take them off for 10 to 20 minutes. Livestrong suggests using ice packs while you sleep if you can.

What Should You Eat After a Tooth Extraction?

Eating hard foods will increase the pain, so stick to soft foods. Pudding, yogurt, and applesauce are popular choices after tooth extractions. You might also eat soup or mashed potatoes. It’s recommended that you follow this diet for 24 to 48 hours, then gradually add harder foods to your diet.

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids during this time as well. Avoid drinking through a straw, which can increase your chances of dry socket.

When Should You Call the Dentist About Swelling and Pain?

If your swelling persists beyond a week, it’s a good idea to check in with the dentist. They might ask you to come in for a checkup.

If your swelling doesn’t seem to be going down or is getting worse, it’s likely due to infection. Infections are not uncommon after tooth extractions.

If you notice any abnormalities in your recovery, it’s okay to call the dentist. Simply asking about your concerns can help to put you at ease. You will also know to come in if it’s something serious.

What Should You Avoid When Your Extraction Is Healing?

Dry socket is a common difficulty that people experience after they have a tooth extraction. It can be very painful and cause bigger issues. In short, dry socket is caused by a dislodged clot in the socket. If this happens, it’s usually noticed a few days after the procedure.

In order to prevent dry socket, you should try to avoid the following:

  1. Raising your blood pressure
  2. Smoking
  3. Rinsing the socket excessively

Your dentist may give you other specifics about how to care for your extraction. Be sure to follow their guidelines for the easiest recovery possible.


Swelling is normal and expected after a tooth extraction. If you take care of the socket as directed, you should have few issues. Your swelling should go down within a week. If not, be sure to give your dentist a call. You should contact the dentist if your pain worsens. You should also call the dentist if you think that you’re experiencing dry socket.