Many patients are advised by their dentist or orthodontist to have their wisdom teeth removed. But why? And what exactly are the so-called wisdom teeth? Can pain be expected after the procedure? Find out everything you need to know about wisdom teeth and surgery here.
What are the wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come through in humans. Mostly they break through into the oral cavity at the age of 18-25 years, as the rearmost cheek teeth. The term comes from the “high” age in which they break through. Normally, each human being has four wisdom-teeth, that are already put on before the birth. However, some people do not have all four wisdom teeth or even no wisdom teeth at all.
The teeth do not necessarily have to be removed. However, they often have no place in the jaw to get through. This is because our jaws are getting smaller and smaller in human development. The dentist can determine how many wisdom teeth you have and whether they have room to break through on the basis of an overview X-ray.
When do the wisdom teeth have to come out?
Wisdom tooth OP in case of lack of space
Wisdom teeth often do not only have too little space, they also sometimes lie sideways or diagonally and cannot grow normally either. They may press against existing teeth and damage them. Wisdom teeth surgery may also be advisable for orthodontic reasons, if the newly broken wisdom teeth endanger the success of the treatment.
Wisdom tooth OP with risk of inflammation
Often the wisdom teeth can only get through half of the time and are still covered by some mucous membrane. Among them are many bacteria, which cause a permanent subliminal inflammation. This is not only stress for the immune system, it can also lead to acute inflammation, which is accompanied by severe pain and swelling. If such a permanent inflammation is present, wisdom teeth should be removed.
Wisdom tooth surgery for tooth decay
Wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, even if they have fully come through. Because they are so far back in the mouth, they are difficult to clean with a toothbrush. Therefore, they are very often affected by severe caries, which also speaks in favour of removal.
Which doctors carry out a removal?
Wisdom teeth can be removed by an oral surgeon, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or dentist. Find a doctor who is experienced in the removal of teeth and who can react quickly and adequately if the procedure should take an unforeseen course.
Different ways of pulling the wisdom teeth
Whether the wisdom teeth have to be extracted in a relatively short procedure on an outpatient basis or in a somewhat longer operation depends on whether they have already grown out correctly or are still hidden in the jaw.
In addition, it is possible to have all four wisdom teeth removed during a procedure, or initially only the teeth on one side and a few weeks later the teeth on the other side.
Both aspects determine how much pain you experience after removing the wisdom teeth.
First option: short procedure with local anaesthesia
If your wisdom teeth are already largely or fully broken through, they can usually be pulled very quickly and easily. The dentist, oral surgeon or maxillofacial surgeon applies a local anaesthetic with a syringe. Only when you no longer feel any pain will the teeth be pulled out with forceps.
Second possibility: Longer operation with local anaesthesia
If the wisdom teeth are still hidden in the jaw or are very slanted, the procedure is more complex and is performed by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon. As a rule, the procedure also takes place under local anaesthesia. Since the mucous membrane and bones have to be removed in order to reach the wisdom teeth, this type of procedure is more likely to result in slight pain or swelling afterwards.
Third possibility: Wisdom teeth are operated out under general anaesthesia.
In rare cases, the surgeon recommends general anaesthesia, usually only if the procedure is unusually complex. Even anxious patients who fear severe pain sometimes opt for general anesthesia.
Course of wisdom tooth surgery
- The dentist or surgeon applies a local anesthetic with a syringe
- The gum is opened through an incision and detached from the bone.
- The tooth is either pulled in one piece or gradually cut into pieces and taken out.
- Once all the teeth have been completely removed, the wounds are sutured.
- The stitches are removed 7 to 10 days after the operation.
What pain can be expected after wisdom teeth surgery?
Some patients experience pain after the procedure, others do not. Swelling of the cheek is also possible. The likelihood of pain depends greatly on the size of the procedure.
If you experience severe pain after the procedure, it is recommended that you take painkillers. But beware: If you want to take painkillers, you should first ask your dentist or surgeon for the right medication, because the active ingredient of aspirin increases the risk of bleeding after the procedure.
After a few days the discomfort should subside. If you still have pain a few days after a wisdom tooth operation that does not decrease, you should go to your dentist again.
How do you behave after the operation?
After the operation, take a rest for two to three days. If necessary, you can relieve the pain and swelling by cooling. It is also advisable to clean your teeth with a soft toothbrush after the operation.
The cost of removal of wisdom teeth
If the operation is absolutely necessary, the costs of the operation will be covered by your statutory health insurance.
However, additional costs of 100.00 to 200.00 euros may be incurred if you decide to use general anaesthesia or sedation with laughing gas instead of local anaesthesia.