Wisdom teeth often cause problems as they 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, and the tooth might come in unevenly or only emerge partially.
When a wisdom tooth emerges partially a flap of skin, called an operculum, might form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food can collect under the skin. This can cause an infection, called pericoronitis, to develop. It will usually go away on its own, but it causes swelling and pain in the area. Impacted teeth that cause infections need to be removed, however.
Wisdom teeth extractions are a fairly common procedure. Extractions can involve one or more teeth. On the basis of the recommendation of Dr. Firlik, a local anesthetic might be used to numb the areas where the teeth will be extracted. However, you might prefer IV sedation during this procedure, in which case you would be referred to an oral surgeon.
During the extraction, the gum tissue around the tooth is cut open to reveal the tooth. The tooth is loosened by gripping it tightly and moving it back and forth until it can be lifted out of the gums. Sometimes a tooth may be impacted so tightly that it cannot be simply lifted out. In cases like this the tooth must be broken into pieces before being removed.
Depending upon the incision and extraction site, sutures might be needed to close the area. Soluble sutures are the best option because they will dissolve on their own.
After the surgery you will need to rest. You should be driven home by a friend or family member, because anesthesia will affect your alertness and judgment. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed somewhat for a while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked.
Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat, as this could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. If your dentist prescribes pain medication, you can use it if you experience high levels of pain. You also can use an ice pack to relieve pain. Dr. Firlik also might provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call our office.
After your surgery, you will be limited to soft foods for a few days. Some recommended foods are:
When drinking, be sure not to use a straw, because the sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. You also should not smoke during the recovery period.
If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly, call our office for a follow-up visit. Dr. Firlik will help you restore your dental health and guide you through the process of a single- or multipletooth extraction.
To request an appointment, call Firlik Family Dentistry at (616) 361-0603.
Firlik Family Dentistry
6225 W River Dr NE
Belmont, MI 49306
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