Rest assured knowing that your healing timeline is not out of whack. Typically, it could take 2-3 months for the "hole" to close up. Extraction sockets heal from the bottom of the void up to the gum. When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms within the socket (the space that was once filled by the root of the tooth) and the healing begins. If something happens to disturb the clot a complication known as a dry socket can develop. As the name implies, a dry socket is an "empty" extraction site that is missing the protective covering of the early blood clot. Intense pain follows because raw nerve endings in the bony walls of the socket are exposed. No one knows why or when a dry socket or condensing osteistis, as it is technically termed, will form but, it generally presents itself 48 hours after the extraction. Pain is not the only symptom; foul breath and and a nasty taste in the mouth are part of the picture. Treatment is palliative in nature requiring multiple visits to the dentist to have the socket packed with a sedative dressing. Patients who have a history of a dry socket are at greater risk than the general population of developing another should future extractions be needed. The good news is that they will heal completely.
Back to the healing time line. A tooth is removed, the blood clot forms. The gum will grow to cover the top of the "hole" in a matter of a few weeks. The inside of the socket needs to be repopulated with bone producing cells called osteocytes and over 3-6 months the bone will fill the inside.
From your description I suspect that the wisdom tooth site healed faster to your eye because the dentist was able to close the wound with stitches and the gum didn't have to grow as much to seal the "hole". The tooth that was lost by an accident probably had a more open socket and the gum has a greater distance to travel to form the seal. If your dry socket was treated as I described, the gum healing was delayed even more. Interestingly, if an x-ray were to be taken, both sites would probably show the same amount of bone regeneration.
Based on your account, everything is fine.
- Dr. Michael Sinkin, dentist in NYC
· 8 years ago