The most common form of extraction is wisdom tooth extraction. Wisdom teeth are notorious for their ability to grow partially (the other half is embedded in your gum tissue) or they grow at an uncomfortable angle, causing disruption to the tooth next to them. As a result, they can be extremely painful to endure and often require extraction.

In the event when a wisdom tooth has not grown normally, an extra flap of skin called an operculum forms over this misshapen wisdom tooth. This makes the wisdom tooth difficult to access for cleaning and brushing. The real problem begins when particles of food get under the operculum and get lodged there. This invariably leads to infection accompanied by pain and swelling that can rapidly become unbearable. This kind of dental condition is referred to as pericoronitis.

Extractions may involve wisdom teeth or any other impacted teeth. Again, extraction procedures vary depending on how many teeth you want removed. Many times, all four wisdom teeth may need to be removed if they are infected. Accordingly, your dentist may decide to use local anesthesia just to numb the specific gum area or patients could be sedated using general anesthesia.

The extraction process for a wisdom tooth begins with an incision on around the gum tissue where the wisdom tooth is located. Then the dentist gently moves the tooth back and forth until the tooth gets a loose enough to be extracted.

Sometimes, it can happen that the wisdom is very tightly wedged into the gums and does not lend itself to extraction. In such cases, the tooth may have to be first fragmented to make the extraction easier. If the extraction has been more involved, then the dentist may need to close the incision with the help of soluble sutures. The advantage here is that soluble sutures dissolve by themselves and you don’t need a follow-up appointment to remove the sutures.

It is advisable not to drive yourself home after an extraction due to the effect of anesthesia. Plan for a friend or family member to take you home and ensure that you rest for some time. It is natural for the surgical incision to bleed for a short while before stopping. Your dentist will apply gauze on the extraction area to facilitate healing. If your gauze soaks through with blood, then you may need to replace it with fresh gauze.

In the event that your pain does not disappear within 24 hours, inform your dentist. As far as possible avoid lying flat on your back as this might encourage prolonged bleeding. Keep your head propped on a pillow at a slightly higher level.

Your dentist will also prescribe pain medication which you need to take whenever necessary. Along with pain medication, you may also be asked to clean or swab the extraction site with a dental cleanser again prescribed by your dentist.

Soft food such as pudding, ice-cream, thin soups and yogurt are recommended after an extraction. Any soft food that does not require chewing can be taken. For drinks, avoid using straws as the suction involved may result in discouraging the clotting process or it may disturb the sutures.

If you continue to feel pain or irritation, call your dentist for professional assistance.