Wisdom Tooth Extractions
When a tooth is deemed unsavable with a root canal or crowns then a tooth extraction may be recommended. Wisdom teeth are usually a source of pain the longer they are left in the mouth when they do not erupt properly. We are able to extract most teeth at Southview Dentistry but in the few instances that we think you will be in better hands with an oral surgeon we will provide you with a referral.
At Southview Dentistry, we will do everything we can to save your tooth and avoid extraction. We perform extractions on most teeth, but we will recommend an oral surgeon for more complex extractions. Wisdom teeth can be particularly problematic if they are impacted and do not erupt properly, and in these cases, an oral surgeon is the best option. Regardless of who performs your extraction, just know that removal of the tooth keeps the infection from spreading.
Dr. Kelly or Dr. Micheal will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. You may feel pressure—not pain—and after extraction, you will bite down on gauze to stop the bleeding. If several teeth are being removed and you prefer to be put to sleep, we will refer you to an oral surgeon that can perform this level of sedation for your treatment.
Sometimes we must stitch the gum closed, and we will either use dissolving stitches, or stitches that we will remove a few days later. We may use a tooth implant to fill the gap, or a bridge or denture if several teeth are being extracted. A bridge is a replacement for one or more (but not all) of the teeth and may be permanent or removable.
Most patients recover fully in a few days, and there are several things you can do to speed your recovery and prevent infection.
Change gauze pads when they become soaked with blood. Do not lie flat, as this may prolong bleeding; instead, prop your head up with a pillow. Avoid physical activity because it may also increase bleeding. In other words, you just had surgery—so relax! Most of all, do not touch the area with your tongue—we know it can be tempting, but doing it may prolong bleeding.
Eat soft foods like soup (without chunks of meat or vegetables), and gelatin or pudding; as your wound heals and becomes less tender, you can add solid foods back in. Avoid drinking liquids through a straw or other strong sucking motions. After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket and protects the underlying bone during healing. A very painful condition called dry socket might occur if that blood clot is dislodged. The bone is exposed and the pain may last for days, with pain spreading to the ear in some cases.
Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, because both delay healing, as well as, reduce your ability to fight infection in your gums. Furthermore, the sucking motion involved in smoking may dislodge the blood clot that has already formed.
To relieve swelling and pain, take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. Application of an ice or cold pack to the outside of your mouth for 10 minutes at a time also works wonders for the swelling.
A day after the extraction, rinse your mouth gently with a warm salt water mixture. Do this several times daily to reduce swelling and relieve pain by simply mixing 1 teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Gently rinse; do not swish the water around too hard inside your mouth because this might loosen the blood clot.
And of course, you absolutely need to continue to brush your teeth regularly, but do so very carefully to avoid the extraction area.
If you follow these instructions, your healing process should go well. So, if you are currently experiencing tooth pain, come in and let us help before it becomes a bigger problem for you! If you need a tooth extraction, the procedure should be done as soon as possible to avoid further infection and complications.