What is an extraction?

This is a dental procedure where your wisdom teeth are removed. How they are removed will be based on their current location and whether or not they are impacted.

What is the procedure like?

First, you will receive anesthesia in order to numb the area being worked on. Some dentists and oral surgeons may also offer nitrous oxide to help you relax or put you to sleep so you do not remember anything about the actual procedure.

If your wisdom teeth have grown in straight, removing them is fairly easy. In this case, you would visit a dentist to have them pulled out using dental tools. Most likely, no surgery would be required. However, if your teeth are impacted, the procedure requires oral surgery. In order to access the actual tooth, the gum tissue covering it will need to be cut open. After numbing the area, a flap will be created in the gum tissue. This allows the dentist or oral surgeon to view the tooth. If muscle or bone is covering it, that will also need to be cut away to provide clear access to the actual tooth. At this point, your dentist may be able to grab the tooth and simply lift it out of the socket. If, however, it does not budge when being wiggled, then the actual tooth will need to be broken into several pieces that can be extracted individually.

Once the tooth has been entirely removed, the area will need to be carefully cleaned. Afterward, the flap of gum tissue can lay flat and be sutured back in place. In order to stop the bleeding, the dentist will place gauze on the area.

What are the aftercare steps following wisdom teeth extraction?

Immediately following a wisdom teeth extraction, you will remain at the dentist office until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off. During this time, you will be monitored to ensure that any bleeding has slowed and that the gauze is working sufficiently. So long as it is, you will be sent home to finish your recovery. Just make sure you have someone pick you up so you do not need to drive home on your own.

At Smile by Design Dental Group, we tell patients who are planning for an extraction to prepare ahead of time. You will need to rest when you get home, so have your bed ready with plenty of pillows to prop up your head. Fill your nightstand with water bottles, additional gauze, ibuprofen, and some good books or movies. Plan on taking it easy for the next 48 hours. During that time, you may want to eat a lot of popsicles, ice cream, yogurt, warm soup, Jell-O, and other foods that are soft and do not require chewing. You will be too sore to try and eat anything else.

To help control the swelling, you should ice your face for 15 minutes at a time and take ibuprofen around the clock. This should be done for 24 to 48 hours. Afterward, you may still need some ibuprofen, but icing may no longer be necessary.

Gradually, you will be able to add in solid foods and begin to eat like normal. The key is to take it easy and not rush the process. Slowly add soft foods that are easy to chew and work your way up to dining at your favorite Irvine restaurant. It may take up to two weeks to be 100 percent back to normal, so during this time, be sure to avoid any nuts, chips, or foods that could crunch and scratch your gum tissue.

You will need to schedule a follow-up visit with the dentist who performed the procedure to ensure that you are healing properly. During this visit, you will get the sign off to return to normal eating habits.

How long is wisdom teeth extraction recovery time?

The first 48 hours are critical since this is when you may experience bleeding, pressure, and swelling. After this, it can take a week or two to recover fully. Your actual recovery time will be based on the procedure and whether or not your wisdom teeth extraction was completed with surgery.

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