Hakimi Dental Clinic – Dentist in Oldbury

51A New Birmingham Rd, Oldbury B69 2JQ

Tooth Extraction Guide: Healing Tips and Soft Foods

Tooth extractions are a common dental procedure that can be necessary for various reasons, from addressing impacted wisdom teeth to preparing for orthodontic treatment. Understanding the process, what to expect during recovery, and how to care for yourself post-procedure can make the experience much less daunting.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about tooth extraction, including the healing process, what a normal socket looks like after the extraction, how to manage the first night, and a list of 50 soft foods to eat to aid your recovery.

What to expect with tooth extraction

Tooth extraction, a common dental procedure, involves the removal of a tooth from its socket in the jawbone. While the idea of having a tooth pulled can be daunting, understanding the process can help ease any anxieties.

Pre-procedure preparation

Before the extraction, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination, which may include X-rays to understand the position and condition of the tooth and surrounding bone. This assessment helps in planning the best approach for removal and anticipating any complications.

Types of tooth extraction

There are two main types of tooth extractions:

Simple extraction: This procedure is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. Typically, a dentist uses an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to remove it. Simple extractions are generally quick and require only local anaesthesia.

Surgical extraction: This more complex procedure is necessary if a tooth has not yet broken through the gum line or has broken off at the gum line. Surgical extractions require the dentist or oral surgeon to make a small incision into the gum to access the tooth. This might involve removing some of the bone around the tooth or cutting the tooth in half to extract it safely.

During the procedure

Regardless of the type, tooth extractions are generally performed under local anaesthesia, which numbs the area around your tooth so that you will feel only pressure, not pain. For more complex cases, or if you are particularly anxious, your dentist might recommend sedation to make you more comfortable.

During a simple extraction, the dentist will use an elevator to gently rock the tooth back and forth until the ligaments that hold the tooth in place are sufficiently stretched and the tooth can be removed easily. In a surgical extraction, after making an incision, the dentist may need to remove bone tissue and cut the tooth before it can be fully extracted.

How long does a tooth extraction take to heal?

Typically, the initial healing phase, where the socket begins to close, can take about one to two weeks. However, the underlying bone can take several months to heal completely. The duration of your recovery depends significantly on following your dentist’s care instructions and practising good oral hygiene.

Tooth extraction healing: the first few days

During the first 24 hours after your tooth extraction, it’s crucial to allow your body to start the healing process. A blood clot will form in the socket, which is an essential part of the recovery process. Disrupting this clot can lead to complications, such as dry socket.

Normal socket after tooth extraction appears like a dark blood clot lying in the hole where the tooth was previously. It’s normal to see a small amount of blood mixed with saliva for the first day. To manage your recovery effectively:

  • Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction.
  • Refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol, as these can impede healing.
  • Use ice packs on your cheek to reduce swelling and apply gentle pressure using a gauze pad if bleeding continues.

Managing the first night after tooth extraction

The first night after tooth extraction can be challenging, but with the right preparation, you can ensure it goes smoothly. Plan to rest and keep your head elevated to reduce bleeding and swelling. If you experience pain, your dentist might recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe medication to help manage discomfort.

Nutrition post-tooth extraction: 50 soft foods to eat

Maintaining a diet of soft foods in the days following your surgery can significantly aid the healing process. Here are 50 soft foods to eat after tooth extraction to keep you nourished and satisfied without causing harm to the extraction site:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Broth-based soups
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Smoothies
  • Oatmeal
  • Applesauce
  • Mashed pumpkin
  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Cottage cheese
  • Pudding
  • Jell-O
  • Rice porridge
  • Soft fruits like peaches and pears
  • Steamed or boiled vegetables
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Fish
  • Pancakes
  • Tofu
  • Hummus
  • Pasta
  • Meatloaf
  • Milkshakes
  • Ice cream
  • Custard
  • Creamed spinach
  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • Polenta
  • Baked apples
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Cheesecake
  • Risotto
  • Soft bread
  • Baked beans
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Flan
  • Soft cheeses
  • Gnocchi
  • Soft cooked lentils
  • Quiche without crust
  • Soft cooked squash
  • Pureed berries
  • Coconut milk
  • Borscht
  • Gazpacho
  • Creamy cauliflower soup
  • Mousse
  • Soft tortillas
  • Lentil soup

Conclusion: smooth recovery and long-term dental health

Tooth extraction is a significant step towards better dental health. By understanding the procedure and following your dentist’s post-operative care instructions, you can manage your recovery smoothly and reduce the risk of complications.

The first 24 hours post-extraction are crucial for healing, as activities like vigorous rinsing or using straws can dislodge the blood clot essential for recovery. Stick to the list of 50 soft foods provided to maintain nutrition without stressing the extraction site. If you encounter any unusual symptoms, such as excessive pain or signs of infection, contact your dental professional promptly.

View this procedure as a proactive measure for preventing future dental issues and potentially paving the way for further treatments that enhance your oral health. Regular dental visits and good oral hygiene will keep your teeth healthy for years to come.

We hope this guide has equipped you with valuable insights into the tooth extraction process and its aftermath, empowering you to approach your treatment with confidence and clarity.


How bad does a tooth need to be, to be extracted?

A tooth may need extraction if it is severely decayed, infected, or damaged beyond repair. Other reasons include gum disease causing loose teeth or making room for other teeth, especially before orthodontic treatment. A dentist can evaluate whether a tooth needs to be extracted after assessing its condition.

How long are you off work after tooth extraction in the UK?

The time off work after a tooth extraction can vary depending on the complexity of the extraction and your job nature. Many people can return to work within a day or two, but those with physically demanding jobs or complicated extractions might need more time to recover.

Why are dentists reluctant to remove teeth?

Dentists are reluctant to remove teeth because keeping your natural teeth is generally better for your dental health and functionality. Removal is only considered when a tooth is beyond restoration or poses a risk to other teeth and overall oral health.

Can a dentist pull a tooth that is broken off at the gum line?

Yes, a dentist can extract a tooth that is broken at the gum line, although it may require a more surgical approach. An oral surgeon or an experienced dentist will make a small incision in the gum to access and remove the remaining tooth structure.

Are rotten teeth easier to extract?

Rotten teeth may sometimes be easier to extract because the decay can cause the tooth structure to become softer and more brittle, potentially making it simpler to remove. However, this is not always the case; if the decay has progressed significantly, it might complicate the extraction. For instance, the tooth might break off during the procedure, requiring a more surgical approach to remove the remnants from the jawbone.

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