Why is there a Hole After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Wisdom teeth are the final or third molars to erupt at the four corners of the mouth, and removing them creates a hole or opening known as a socket. Is it, however, normal to have a hole after wisdom tooth extraction?
If you have scheduled a dental appointment to have your wisdom tooth extracted or have already had the procedure, you may have some questions like why is there a hole after wisdom tooth removal? When you decide to have your problematic wisdom tooth extracted, you should be aware of what happens during the recovery period as well as aftercare instructions in order to speed up the healing process and avoid complications.
In this blog, the wisdom tooth removal surgeon at First Point Dental in Chicago answers the most frequently asked questions on the internet about wisdom tooth removal, such as how long it takes for the hole to close after a wisdom tooth removal.
Is There Supposed to Be A Hole After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Yes, removing any tooth, particularly a wisdom tooth, leaves an empty tooth socket that can be seen as a hole or an opening.
When you smile in front of the mirror, you can only see the upper third of your teeth, which are the anatomical crowns. However, another two-thirds of the teeth remain hidden beneath the gum line and jawbone, where the tooth roots were attached. The gap visible after wisdom tooth removal is the space that was previously filled with tooth roots. When an impacted or non-erupted wisdom tooth is extracted, the hole created in the jawbone is much larger than when a simple tooth extraction is performed.
Unfortunately, the anatomy of the jawbone at the extraction site will not always re-form or restore the lost jawbone within the tooth socket. However, the patient can still expect the hole to close due to the formation of gingiva covering.
Do Wisdom Teeth Holes Close Over Time?
In an ideal world, yes. The extraction site of the wisdom tooth heals by the body’s natural healing process, just like any wounded skin that is temporarily covered by scab formation to prevent infection of the injured site or pain/discomfort. Clot formation occurs inside the wisdom tooth hole by recruiting blood platelets. These thrombocytes clump together at the extraction site and immediately adhere to the broken blood vessels that had branched into the tooth’s interior.
Unfortunately, some potential factors can dislodge the blood clot and expose the socket or hole beneath, delaying wisdom tooth closure. A dry socket is a condition that can affect a small number of oral surgery patients. Avoiding smoking, chewing on hard/crunchy food, drinking alcoholic or carbonated beverages, using straws, vigorous mouth rinsing, and aggressive use of toothbrushes or anything that physically irritates that site can help prevent blood clot dislodging. The hole would naturally close as long as it was covered by a blood clot.
How Long Does It Take for a Wisdom Tooth Hole to Heal/Close After Extraction?
The length of the recovery period is determined by the type of tooth extraction used: simple or surgical.
Following a wisdom tooth extraction, the physical “filling in” of the extraction site is a gradual process. The patient will notice the formation of a blood clot covering the socket within the first 24-48 hours, and the gum tissues will repair and regenerate to seal the extraction site within the next 7-21 days. Within 2 weeks, the patient can expect a smooth texture that matches the surrounding gum tissues over the hole. However, it may take 1-4 months for the socket beneath the gingiva to close. The hole must be completely healed without any indentation, depending on the extent of the tooth extraction. However, due to jawbone resorption, the patient may still notice a slight depression where the gingiva has covered the socket. As a result, bone grafting is required to repair the hole in the jawbone. Dental X-rays can be used to take images of the tooth extraction site to ensure a healthy jawbone, especially if cysts are present.
During the extraction site’s healing period, the patient is strongly advised to keep the area clean and to strictly adhere to all oral hygiene, wound care, and dietary instructions. The primary goal should be to keep the blood clot intact in order to ensure a quick, painless recovery.
If you notice a lingering hole in the area where the wisdom tooth was removed, see a dentist or an oral surgeon right away.
Contact First Point Dental if you have any questions about why is there a hole after wisdom tooth removal or concerns about the healing time after wisdom teeth removal, or if you need us to examine a tooth that may require extraction. You can also make an appointment online by visiting https://www.firstpointdental.com/contact-us/. We are on hand to help with any of your dental needs. We look forward to helping you improve your smile!