Wisdom Teeth Extractions

The extraction of wisdom teeth is a frequent procedure. Wisdom teeth often become impacted and attempt to erupt through the gums at an angle rather than straight through the gums. Generally, this is a painful ordeal and can cause the tooth to either come through the gums unevenly or perhaps partially.

A partially emerged wisdom tooth can cause an operulum, which is a flap of skin, to develop over the tooth. Brushing and proper maintenance of the tooth may become difficult, and quite often food can become caught underneath the skin. An infection known as pericoronitis may begin to develop. Pain and swelling will likely occur and the infection will leave on its own.

Extractions will be needed when teeth, particularly wisdom teeth, have become impacted. These are the most likely to cause problems such as infections. At times one extraction is sufficient, but often all four wisdom teeth must be removed at once. The doctor and patient will carefully discuss whether only a local anesthetic or a general anesthetic is needed.

It will be necessary to open the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth (teeth) to expose the tooth. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove the tooth in smaller pieces. Sutures are sometimes needed to close up the area around the extraction site, dependent upon the incision. The most favorable solution is soluble sutures as they dissolve on their own.

Rest is paramount after the surgery. Since you have been under anesthesia, it will be necessary for someone to drive you home. The extraction area will likely bleed somewhat following the surgery. You will have gauze placed at the site following the surgery which will need to be changed when it becomes soaked. You need to contact the dentist if bleeding occurs for longer than 24 hours. It is best not to lie flat when you are resting as this might lengthen the bleeding time. Use a pillow if you wish to lie down. If you do feel sore, take the pain medication that the dentist has provided. An ice pack may also be helpful. A cleaning solution is also often given to assist in keeping the extraction site as clean as possible.

Your diet will consist of soft foods for several days following your surgery. You may eat such foods as:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups
  • …and other food you can eat without chewing.

Do not use straws while drinking and smoking is discouraged. You may loosen the sutures or slow down the clotting process through the sucking motion of the straw or smoking. If you do experience unusual symptoms such as prolonged bleeding or pain, more irritation than seems normal, or feel that the extraction site is not healing, please call your dentist right away.