Wisdom teeth can often cause problems as they push their way through your gums into your mouth, but luckily wisdom teeth extractions are a common procedure. If a wisdom tooth is pushing through your gums at an angle or unevenly, it is referred to as “impacted,” and this can be painful.
If a wisdom tooth is only partially emerging from your gums, a piece of skin (called an operculum), may develop. As a result of this operculum, the tooth can be hard to clean or pieces of food may get stuck. If this happens, it is easy for an infection (periocornitis) to form. Often the infection resolves itself, but it can cause pain or swelling around the tooth.
If your wisdom teeth become impacted or cause infections, they will need to be removed. Wisdom teeth extraction can involve only one tooth, or there may be multiple teeth that must be removed at the same time. We are happy to offer recommendation on what will work best for your unique situation.
During your procedure, the gum is cut to reveal and remove the wisdom tooth. If a tooth is impacted and cannot be removed by wiggling it back and forth, the tooth may be broken into pieces before removal. In some situations, sutures may be needed to close your gums, and we may even use soluble sutures that will dissolve and do not need to be removed.
After surgery, you will need to be driven home by a family or friend, and you will need to rest. It is normal for the extraction site to bleed slightly for a few hours after surgery, and we will put gauze in your mouth to help with this. If your gums continue to bleed after 24 hours, please call us. When resting, do not lie flat as this could encourage the bleeding to continue. Your dentist is also able to prescribe you pain medication for you to take as directed to help with any discomfort, and we will provide you with a cleaning solution so you can clean your gums. We also recommend using an ice pack to help ease the pain.
For the first few days after your surgery, we recommend you only eat soft foods such as pudding, gelatin, yogurt, mashed potatoes, or ice cream. Any food that you can eat without chewing is best.
Lastly, when drinking a liquid, do not use a straw, and do not smoke. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and even slow the blood clotting process at your extraction site.
And of course, if you suspect something is wrong or not healing properly, please call us for a follow-up appointment.
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