Tooth Extraction: Wisdom Teeth

At Loyalsock Dental Associates in Williamsport, PA, we understand that tooth extraction, particularly of wisdom teeth, can cause anxiety. This post aims to clarify the process and offer useful insights, helping you feel more comfortable and informed about your dental health.  

At Loyalsock Dental Associates in Williamsport, PA, we understand that tooth extraction, particularly of wisdom teeth, can cause anxiety.


Tooth extraction involves removing a tooth from its socket in the bone. This procedure is often necessary when a tooth has decayed, become damaged, or poses other dental issues. Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. Unlike other teeth, wisdom teeth often lack sufficient space to grow properly, leading to various complications.

Reasons for Extraction

Wisdom teeth can cause numerous problems, making extraction crucial. Impacted wisdom teeth remain trapped beneath the gum, failing to erupt fully or at all. Consequently, they can lead to pain, infection, and damage to neighboring teeth. The pressure from an impacted tooth can also cause cysts or tumors that further complicate oral health.

Severe tooth decay also necessitates extraction. The limited space in the back of the mouth makes cleaning these teeth challenging, leading to rapid decay and gum disease.

Additionally, overcrowding can prompt removal. Wisdom teeth can push existing teeth out of alignment, disrupting your bite and requiring orthodontic adjustments. This overcrowding can negate the benefits of previous orthodontic work, creating both physical discomfort and aesthetic concerns.


The extraction procedure begins with an initial examination and X-rays. Dr. Joyce Kim will carefully evaluate the position and condition of your wisdom teeth. These X-rays will help determine the best course of action. The examination also involves discussing your medical history and any medications you may be taking, as these factors can impact the extraction process. Local anesthesia numbs the immediate area.

A simple extraction involves loosening the tooth with an elevator tool and then removing it with forceps. This process is usually straightforward and less invasive. In contrast, surgical extraction becomes necessary when the tooth remains impacted. During this procedure, an incision in the gum reveals the tooth, which is then removed in sections if needed. Dr. Kim may opt to break the tooth into smaller pieces to facilitate easier removal.

Post-extraction care instructions are vital for a smooth recovery and may include guidelines on pain management, diet, and oral hygiene. Following these instructions carefully can significantly enhance your healing process.  

Risks and Complications

Though generally safe, wisdom tooth extractions can involve risks and complications. Understanding these risks helps in making an informed decision. Infection remains a common concern. Symptoms such as swelling, fever, or discharge from the extraction site require prompt attention. Infections can stem from bacteria entering the extraction site, making proper hygiene crucial.

A dry socket occurs when the blood clot at the extraction site dislodges, exposing the underlying bone and nerves and causing severe pain. This condition can delay healing and requires additional treatment from Dr. Kim.

Nerve damage can result in numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, or chin, although this is rare. Dr. Kim takes precautions to minimize this risk. Usually, any numbness dissipates within a few weeks, but in some cases, it can be permanent.

Bleeding after the procedure is normal but should decrease gradually. Excessive or prolonged bleeding needs immediate evaluation. Applying pressure with gauze often helps control minor bleeding. If complications arise, contacting Loyalsock Dental Associates ensures you receive timely and appropriate care.


Effective pain management is crucial for a comfortable recovery. Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed medications can alleviate discomfort. Dr. Kim may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and manage pain. Swelling and bruising are common and usually peak at 48 hours post-extraction. Applying ice packs to the affected area can reduce swelling. Keeping your head elevated while resting can also help minimize swelling.

Diet and oral hygiene play significant roles in recovery. Soft foods such as yogurt, applesauce, and mashed potatoes are ideal. Avoid hot, spicy, or crunchy foods that could irritate the extraction site. Gradually reintroduce more complex foods as you heal. Additionally, maintaining oral hygiene is essential, but be gentle around the extraction area to avoid dislodging the blood clot.

Dr. Joyce Kim and the team at Loyalsock Dental Associates prioritize patient comfort and safety. If you need a wisdom tooth extraction, we ensure a thorough evaluation, a clear explanation of the procedure, and comprehensive post-operative care. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.