The removal of a non-wisdom tooth is a relatively simple procedure. Local anesthetic is used to numb the tooth a surrounding tissues. It can take as little as a few minutes to remove the tooth.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a fairly common procedure. Wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. Wisdom teeth often cause crowding or misalignment of already erupted teeth. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it means the tooth is coming in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. This can cause pain, the tooth can come in unevenly, or the tooth may only emerge partially.
When a wisdom tooth only emerges partially a flap of skin, called an operculum, may form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food may be caught under the skin. This makes it easy for an infection, called pericoronitis, to develop. It causes swelling and pain in the area. In rare instances these infections can spread to other areas of the body. Impacted teeth and wisdom teeth that can potentially cause problems, like infections, need to be removed.
Extractions can range from a single tooth, to removing all four wisdom teeth at once. In a generral dental office a local anesthetic would be used to numb the areas where the teeth will be extracted. Others will prefer to go under a general anesthetic at an oral surgeons office so that they will be sedated during the procedure.
The gum tissue around the impacted wisdom tooth is cut open to reveal the tooth. The tooth is loosened until it can be lifted out of the gums. In cases the tooth maybe sectioned into pieces first before being removed. Depending on the incision and extraction site, sutures may be needed to close the area. Soluble sutures are the best option, which will dissolve on their own.
After the surgery it is advisable to rest. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your dentist. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Your dentist will prescribe you pain medication, so if you become sore take as directed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain and to reduce any swelling. Your dentist might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site.
You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Ice Cream
- Thin Soups
- …and other food you can eat without chewing.
When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist for a follow up.