Teeth that have experienced the effects of advanced periodontal disease (gum disease) are teeth whose supporting bone has been damaged. In general, as periodontal disease worsens, a tooth is supported by less and less surrounding bone, often to the point where the tooth becomes loose. In those cases where significant bone damage has occurred and a tooth has become excessively mobile extraction of the tooth may be the only option.
Sometimes 3rd molars or wisdom teeth lie in a position that proves to be a constant source of irritation to the person’s cheek (by either rubbing against the cheek or causing the person to bite it). As a solution, your dentist may suggest that the offending wisdom teeth be extracted.
Wisdom teeth are typically in a region of the mouth that is hard to clean, thus placing them and their neighboring tooth at greater risk for decay and periodontal disease. Depending on the precise circumstances, your dentist may advise that removing a nonfunctional tooth might be in your best long-term interest in regards to maintaining good oral health.
Impacted teeth are teeth whose positioning in the jaw bone is such that they cannot erupt into normal alignment and are often nonfunctional. This combination of factors makes impacted teeth common candidates for extraction. Extractions are often necessary in those cases where a large discrepancy exists between the size of the patient’s jaws and the needed space required for the improved alignment of their teeth. An orthodontist usually makes that decision after x-rays and models.
What to Expect After Extraction Surgery?
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon.
The following tips will help speed your recovery:
- Bite gently on the gauze pad periodically, and change pads as they become soaked with blood. Call your dentist or oral surgeon if you still have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
- While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for the first 24 hours. You can use moist heat—such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wrung out-for the following 2 or 3 days.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- Do not use a straw for the first few days. Sucking on a straw can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
- After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery. The sucking motion can loosen the clot and delay healing. In addition, smoking decreases the blood supply and can bring germs and contaminants to the surgery area.
- Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue or touching it with your fingers.
- Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully.
- Your dentist will remove the stitches after a few days, if needed.