Tooth extractions are a fairly common procedure. The most common teeth to remove with extractions are wisdom teeth. These teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. 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 the tooth will be hard to clean, and pieces of food may be caught under the gums. This makes it easy for an infection, called pericoronitis, to develop. It will sometimes go away on its own, but often causes swelling and pain in the area.
Impacted teeth and wisdom teeth that can potentially cause problems, like infections, need to be removed. Extractions are also one method to deal with a severely decayed, infected, or broken tooth. Extractions can range from a single tooth, to removing multiple teeth at once. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the areas where the teeth will be extracted. Some patients choose to see an oral surgeon and undergo general anesthesia to be sedated during the procedure.
After the surgery you will need to rest. You may need to be driven home by a friend or family member because of the anesthesia. 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, and you will need to change it periodically. 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. Take pain medication as directed. You can also use an ice pack to minimize swelling.
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 slow the clotting process and impede healing. Smoking will also do this and should be avoided completely. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly call Dr. Eggert or your oral surgeon for a follow up.