Wisdom teeth extractions are a fairly common procedure. Wisdom 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 a flap of skin, called an operculum, may form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food may be caught under the skin. This makes it easy for an infection, called pericoronitis, to develop. It may go away on its own, but it usually causes swelling and pain in the area until the tooth is removed.
Impacted wisdom teeth can potentially cause problems, such as chronic or acute infections or shifting of the other teeth. Therefore, it is usually best if they are removed. The number of extractions can range from a single tooth, to removing all four wisdom teeth at once. Most wisdom teeth extractions are referred to an oral surgeon.
Simpler extractions can be done by the general dentist, although many are also referred to the surgeon. After most extractions you will need to rest. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery. If it becomes soaked and bleeding continues for more than 4 hours you should call your dentist. Rest when you return home.
You should limit yourself to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:
- Scrambled eggs
- Macaroni and cheese
- 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 loosen a blood clot and result in a dry socket. The same goes for smoking or excessive rinsing. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don't feel that the extraction site is healing properly call your dentist for a follow up.