Exposure of an Impacted Tooth
If you have ever had an impacted tooth, then you automatically understand the pain and discomfort associated with the impaction. However, dental impaction can cause more problems than just pain. If an impacted tooth is allowed to remain, it can lead to a serious infection, a cyst forming at the site, damage to the jawbone, and tooth loss.
When we here at Stamford Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Arts have a patient in our exam chair who is suffering from dental impaction, we often recommend a procedure known as tooth exposure. This can help reveal the impacted tooth, helping it to erupt properly from your gums. Knowing what to expect after tooth exposure surgery can help you heal faster and prevent problems later on.
What Do I Need to Know about Tooth Exposure?
Exposing an impacted tooth is a safe and routine outpatient procedure. During the tooth exposure procedure, we will carefully cut into your gums to expose the impacted tooth. If there is anything blocking it, we will remove anything that may be keeping it from erupting properly. After your procedure, we may apply sutures to the site to help promote healing. We may also apply surgical packing, but please note that if the packing does fall out, that should be fine and should not be of much concern.
Because tooth exposure is surgery, bleeding is fairly common and to be expected. In the first 24 hours after the procedure, you may find that you are spitting blood or that your saliva is bloody, as well. If you start to notice excessive bleeding, please call us immediately so we can assess it. For milder bleeding, though, you can place a piece of gauze over the surgical site and hold it in place with your teeth for a half hour to stop the flow of blood.
If you notice swelling after your tooth exposure, do not be surprised. That, too, is fairly common. You may apply a cold compress to the site to help relieve any swelling and pain. Do this as needed for the first 24 hours after your tooth exposure. You can also reach for over-the-counter NSAIDs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with any discomfort. Avoid aspirin, as it can make bleeding worse.
Be careful to avoid irritating the surgical site with food. Adhere to a soft food diet and do not eat anything hard or crunchy, as that can delay healing and irritate the area. Drink plenty of water to help you stay hydrated, but abstain from carbonated drinks and other caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee. Hot drinks and overly hot foods should be avoided, too. Soft foods like soups (just make sure they are not too hot!) and yogurts and gelatin can be consumed, though, after your tooth exposure.
The Day Of Your Procedure
The day of your tooth exposure surgery, you will want to avoid brushing and flossing. The day after, though, you can start to gently brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush after meals and in the evening. You want to keep the surgical site clean to encourage healing. The day after the procedure, you will want to very carefully rinse your mouth out five times per day with warm salt water. Continue to do this until your mouth is fully healed.
Also avoid any strenuous physical activity like exercise immediately after, as that can delay healing and cause the surgical site to start bleeding again. Wait several days, then start gentle exercise and listen to your body. If you feel weak or dizzy, stop immediately and rest.
It is critical that you follow our advice after tooth exposure to help make sure you heal properly afterward. To learn more about tooth exposure, or to set up an appointment with us for a consultation regarding this procedure, please give us here at Stamford Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Arts a call at (203) 325-2661 today!