Do you know anyone who regards tooth extraction as a painless experience? I bet no one will ever claim that removing a tooth feels so comfortable and soothing. After an extraction, your dentist may mention that pain and discomfort may be expected for the first 2 to 3 days, depending on your pain tolerance. Swelling, bleeding, and risk for infection are readily prevented using prescribed medications and home care instructions. But what if you have been 5 days after tooth extraction but still in pain? What are the common causes of prolonged pain?
Let us tackle why extended discomfort can be felt after tooth extraction, what to expect, and what to do about it.
It has been 5 Days after Tooth Extraction but Still in Pain: Why?
Adults often have tooth extractions, either as a consequence of their dental care neglect causing tooth decay or damage, or it can be in preparation for a specialized procedure, like orthodontics or missing tooth replacement services(dental implants/dentures). The most common tooth getting extracted is the third molar or our wisdom tooth. Immediately after tooth removal, a blood clot normally forms to cover the hole where your tooth has been. This bloody ‘plug’ covers the internal structure of your gums, including the bone and the nerves previously attached to your tooth. However, sometimes, there is no bloody covering that develops on top of the gums, exposing the nerves and the wound as a whole to external irritants that can cause pain and discomfort. Worse, they may lead to infection and further damage. This condition is called a dry socket.
Why does one Develop a Dry Socket?
Experiencing dry socket is very rare if it happens naturally. The typical dry socket often occurs a few days after your tooth extraction, about 3 to 5 days post-procedure, when the plug gets disturbed and removed unintentionally. It may be from careless chewing, harsh brushing, or excessive swishing of liquid when gargling or drinking. Once the blood clot gets dislodged from the hole, the nerves that were once connected to the tooth get exposed, and when you apply stimulants like hot or cold drinks or food, it triggers and stimulates the brain to cause pain and extreme sensitivity. The side effects and complaints you may be feeling because of the dry socket can persist for up to a week, and the prolonged pain can cause discomfort continuously for 2 to 3 days. What’s worse is that you may be at higher risk of acquiring infection and prolonging your healing process.
5 Days After Tooth Extraction but Still in Pain: Treatment
Once you have presented signs and symptoms of having a dry socket, your dentist may require you to have multiple visits with him so he can provide the following treatments as soon as possible:
Saltwater flushing. The dry socket is exposed to the saline solution or sterilizing fluid that can help clean the area. Food debris, plaque, or bacteria and germs can live and inhabit this part, potentially paving the way to pain and infection.
Wound packing. Since the natural cover or plug of your gums is not present, there has to be a way for your nerves and bones to be concealed. Your dentist should then use a sterile gauze to pack the socket securely. Changing this dressing as often as possible is to be recommended.
Medication prescription. Although pain relievers that you can get over the counter may help in alleviating most of your discomfort, the aid that it can provide is limited and temporary. What needs to be done first is to address the concealment of the exposed gums, and then use pain medications when needed. Another way to treat the signs and symptoms is to take prescribed antibiotics to ensure that:
- You would not be open or vulnerable to infection.
- It can fight the spread of the damage or disease once you are exposed.
How to Prevent Dry Socket?
Avoid smoking. Smoking delays the natural healing process of the body. So, dentists, and even doctors recommend smoking cessation before, during, and after their medical or dental procedure or surgery.
Do not take unprescribed medications post-extraction. There are certain medications that, though they are safe to use, may affect the natural blood clotting of the body. Every time we injure ourselves and wounds are created, part of our body’s defence mechanism is to produce clots to cover the wound and prevent further bleeding and exposure to infection. When you take medications that thin the blood, clotting gets stunted during your healing process, preventing you from having a plug on your gums post-extraction.
Be careful when taking in food and beverages. Chewing and gulping big amounts of food and drinks can
Take a rest post-extraction. Healing takes place instantly, but factors like stress, pressure, and emotional anxieties affect our blood circulation and brain activity. Resting and clearing your head may give you time to feel relaxed, prompting the body’s natural therapeutic curing.
Watch yourself. Beware of your habits as they may be affecting your recovery post tooth extraction. Do not blow your nose too hard. Do not sneeze through your nose (with your mouth closed). Avoid exposure to external factors like swimming. Do not rinse your mouth or gargle too hard. Do not touch your gums with your tongue or finger. Do not use straws for the first-week post-extraction. Do not tire yourself as it will elevate your blood pressure and may dislodge the blood clot prematurely.
Though the process of tooth extraction is standard, there are also different ways for dentists to perform it depending on your need and situation. Hence, your recovery and healing period may also be unique from one another. Some may have faster healing while some may experience discomfort worse than the others. What’s important is that no further complications, like having a dry socket, ever develop during your recovery period. We hope that our article gave you insight into what happens if you have one as well as give you enough information on how to treat and prevent a dry socket from disturbing your healing process.