If you have a tooth extraction planned, chances are the procedure itself is what's on your mind right now. But what about what comes after? Here's what you need to know about your recovery time after you've had a tooth pulled.

Immediately After

When your dentist is done pulling your tooth, you can go home immediately. However, how you go about going home is ultimately up to the way that your dentist performs the procedure.

Not all dentists use general anesthesia for dental extractions. If yours does, you'll need to get a ride home from someone else. General anesthesia can have lingering effects that make it unsafe to drive in the short term. However, if your dentist doesn't use general anesthesia, you should be able to drive yourself home without any issues. Talk to your dentist to be sure, though.

Recovery Time

It's recommended for folks who get a tooth extracted to give themselves a little time off to recuperate. While it's a minor procedure, dental extractions are a type of surgery, and the body needs time to recover, heal, and rest after this procedure. If need be, you can always ask your dentist to write you a doctor's note to let you skip a couple of days of work.

If you absolutely can't take a break, at least try to take it easy physically. Don't push yourself too hard for the first couple days, and if you have a stressful job, make sure you're not grinding your teeth so that you don't hurt the part of your gums that had an incision.

Long-Term Effects

After the first couple of days, you shouldn't experience any bleeding or discomfort, as the gums will have started to close up. However, recovery doesn't stop there.

In the weeks to come, your body will start to use its remarkable healing mechanisms to adapt to your lack of tooth. First, the gums will fully heal, with the two sides that were split apart merging back together again. This will usually be complete after your dentist removes your stitches.

Initially, you may notice that the part of your gums where the tooth was extracted seems to have an indentation. This isn't permanent. After some time passes, new bone cells will start to grow, pushing the gums back up where they belong and making them strong enough to tolerate regular pressure from chewing and biting.

Tooth extraction is a pretty simple procedure to have, but like all surgical procedures, you'll need to spend a little time taking care of yourself afterward. Talk to a dentist if you have further questions about your upcoming tooth extraction.