Healing After A Tooth Extraction: Know What To Expect

18 July 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

After a tooth is extracted, the empty dental socket left behind can look a little concerning. Your gum tissues will look traumatized—red and inflamed, with some light bleeding. The healing process will begin immediately, and it's important to monitor this process. Having an idea of what to expect helps you to know how your healing is going—and if you need to report anything to your dentist.


Perhaps the most important part of healing after tooth extractions is clotting. This is similar to when a scab forms over a cut or graze, although the clot will not be dry. Because it's continually moistened by saliva, your new clot is quite fragile. It's important not to dislodge it.

Eating and Drinking

Protecting your clot just involves being a little careful with what you eat and drink. You don't want to overexert your teeth with anything too hard or chewy, as this can cause your clot to detach. Avoid drinking with a straw, even though this might seem like a good idea. It creates suction in your mouth, which can very easily loosen your clot. As the clot solidifies, it will look like a dark red spot over your empty dental socket. 

Empty Socket

Eventually, the redness of the clot will fade. Your gum tissues will regrow over your empty dental socket. Of course, the socket shouldn't stay empty, and your dentist will want to discuss your tooth replacement options (whether this is a dental implant or a dental bridge). But there are some additional changes you can expect as your gums heal.

White Spots

As the clot fades, you might notice some white spots in your gum tissue around the empty dental socket. It's easy to mistake this for a complication. The white spots can look as though the tissues are infected, with the whiteness indicating the formation of pus immediately below your gum tissues. If this whiteness is accompanied by discomfort, please contact your dentist—since this might be a mild post-extraction infection.

Granulation Tissue

When it's not associated with pain or discomfort, the whitening of your gum tissues can be a good sign. This is granulation tissue (made of collagen and blood vessels) and is simply your gums regrowing over the empty dental socket. The whiteness will fade and blend into your gums. 

At first, your empty dental socket will look like the scene of an accident. This can be concerning but is perfectly natural. There will be additional physical changes to the look of the extraction site, but these are also natural. If any changes are accompanied by discomfort which can suggest an infection, please talk to your dentist.