If your wisdom tooth extraction site never closed and you’re wondering how long does it take for the healing process to take place, you’re in the right place.
Any time you’re planning a dental extraction, it’s important to know what to watch for during your recovery, especially if you’ve never had a tooth pulled. When it comes to wisdom teeth extraction, Princeton dentist, Dr. Bestandji will want you to avoid irritating the surgical site. Otherwise, it’s possible for the blood clot to come loose.
Removing any tooth, especially wisdom teeth, creates an opening or hole called a “socket”. You’ve probably heard the term “dry socket” used in conversations about wisdom teeth removal. But, is it normal to have a hole after wisdom tooth surgery?
Is There Supposed to be a Hole After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Yes. Whenever you look at a tooth, you see the upper 1/3 which is the anatomical crown. But there’s still another 1/2 to 2/3 of the tooth anatomy hidden below the gums and bone, making up the roots. Having wisdom teeth removed creates a hole or opening that we call a socket. The hole is the space that was previously filled by the tooth roots. And if your wisdom teeth were impacted or unerupted, then the holes in the bone will be larger than what would be present after a simple tooth extraction.
Do Wisdom Teeth Holes Ever Close?
Ideally, yes. The natural healing process involves a clot formation inside of the wisdom tooth “hole”. Just like any wound in your skin, your body creates a temporary cover (scab) to safeguard itself against pain and infection. A wisdom tooth blood clot is part of natural healing methods.
Unfortunately, it’s possible for factors that dislodge the blood clot. Any time that happens, it exposes the hole or socket underneath it where the tooth used to be. We call this painful condition a “dry socket” and it affects a small fraction of oral surgery patients.
The key to prevent a dry socket and speed up wisdom teeth “holes” becoming closed, make sure you avoid things that will dislodge the blood clot like:
- Alcoholic or carbonated beverages
- Hard or crunchy food
- Vigorous rinsing
- Physical irritation (toothbrushing, etc.)
As long as the blood clot in your wisdom tooth socket isn’t irritated, you should expect the hole to naturally close in.
How Long Does it Take the Hole to Close After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
The physical “filling in” of holes after wisdom teeth extraction isn’t immediate. Rather, it’s a gradual process. Over the first few days, you’ll notice a soft covering start to form over the socket. The gum tissue should close off the extraction site within a matter of days. Within about two weeks, there should be a smooth texture over the socket that matches the gingiva (gum tissues) surrounding it.
Underneath the gingiva, however, it may be around a few months before the socket starts to close. We can take an X-ray of the extraction site later on to ensure everything appears healthy within your bone, particularly if any cysts were present. After the gingiva covers the socket, you may still notice a slight depression in that area, due to a lack of bone.
Reasons Why There is a Hole After Wisdom Tooth Removal.
Every time a tooth is extracted, some type of a hole is left behind. In this case, the wisdom tooth “hole” is simply the base or socket where the roots of the tooth were attached to the bone around it. Although the bony anatomy in that area won’t necessarily re-form or completely fill the socket in, you can expect the gum tissue (gingiva) over the opening to close it off entirely.
If for any reason you continue to see a hole in your mouth after a tooth extraction, please see our dentist or an oral surgeon right away. Delayed healing or continual dry sockets can pose a high risk of infection and pain. In some cases, it may be necessary to place medication or a bone graft down into the opening to facilitate appropriate healing. Without good hygiene, there is always a risk of infection, which could lead to gum tissue scarring or a lingering hole in your mouth.
What To Do To Help Wisdom Teeth Holes Heal Faster?
Like any surgical recovery, it’s essential to take care of yourself. If you’re anemic, make sure you’re getting enough iron by eating leafy greens and taking a multivitamin. Delayed wound healing can be an indication of other underlying health issues, so always be sure to speak with a physician. A balanced diet, plenty of hydration (leading up to and after your surgery) and soft foods during recovery are essential.
Maintaining a soft diet for the first few days will prevent physical irritation to your tooth extraction site. Stock up on appropriate foods prior to your appointment. Items like yogurt, pudding, cottage cheese and applesauce can be filling and soothing at the same time.
Most wisdom teeth surgeries today do not require traditional stitches. If sutures are required, dissolvable material is usually preferred. Traditional sutures will need to be removed within a specific time period after your appointment; do not delay your follow-up visit.
Always follow your home care instructions as advised such as rising with warm salt water. Veering away from your post-operative guidelines can inadvertently delay the healing process. If for any reason you have questions about a specific recommendation, please contact your dentist; we’ll be more than happy to help you understand the home-care process.
How Long Does it Take for Pain to Go Away After Wisdom Tooth Extraction Surgery?
Appropriate self-care and minimizing dry sockets are key to avoiding wisdom teeth surgery pain. If the blood clot comes out and the extraction site is visible, moderate to severe pain may develop.
At Canal Vista Family Dental, we carefully screen and look after each of our wisdom teeth extraction patients to ensure a successful experience. Your health, recovery, and comfort matter to us! We also work with area experts and oral surgeons to provide specialty-level care as needed like if you need sedation during wisdom teeth extraction, bone augmentation, or have severely impacted wisdom teeth.
Reserve a wisdom tooth removal consultation with Dr. Bestandji today. Call Canal Vista Family Dental now to get started.