Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are located on the sides of the jaw and often develop late in adulthood. Although these teeth can be useful for chewing, they often cause problems and need to be removed. Why remove wisdom teeth? How is the operation performed? HELVIDENT answers your questions.
A quick reminder about wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are located at the very back of the dental arches. There are generally four of them (two at the top and two at the bottom). However, dentists are increasingly observing their total absence in younger generations. This is a normal evolutionary process: wisdom teeth have outlived their usefulness in the modern diet, and tend to disappear.
In most cases, these teeth appear between the ages of 13 and 25. However, they can grow very late, even after the age of 60! Successive eruptive flare-ups often cause dental pain, or even fever, as in the case of baby's teething.
Why remove wisdom teeth?
Far from being systematic, wisdom teeth surgery is nevertheless necessary in certain cases. Indeed, as wisdom teeth develop, they can cause misalignment of the dentition, as they often lack the space to emerge properly. Misaligned teeth can lead to jaw pain and headaches.
If wisdom teeth are not extracted, they can also cause bleeding and swelling of the gums. Wisdom teeth can grow in crooked, pushing against and damaging other teeth.
What's more, when wisdom teeth aren't properly cleaned, they can develop tooth decay and infections.
Wisdom teeth can cause other symptoms or complications (gingivitis, cysts, cavities, jaw pain). In the case of decay on the second molar, the dentist may prefer to remove the wisdom tooth to facilitate access to the diseased tooth. The useless tooth is then sacrificed to treat the other.
When should you see a dentist to remove wisdom teeth?
When a patient experiences pain or discomfort related to wisdom teeth, it's best to consult a dentist in Fribourg or Lausanne. You can also consult a stomatologist. The practitioner may ask you to have a radiography panoramic to examine the wisdom teeth and determine whether extraction is necessary.
How does extraction work?
As a rule, wisdom teeth are removed directly by a dental surgeon. In more complex cases (especially after the age of 25), the operation is performed by a specialist in maxillofacial and oral surgery.
Wisdom teeth are removed under local or general anaesthetic. Depending on the position of the teeth, incisions in the gum may be necessary to remove them. In some cases, wisdom teeth remain impacted or trapped under the gum or in the jawbone. In this case, the dentist will perform a surgical extraction to remove the tooth.
Under local anaesthetic, only the two teeth (top and bottom) on one side of the jaw are removed at the same time. A second operation is required to remove the other two. When the operation is performed under general anaesthetic, the dentist can usually remove all four teeth at the same time.
How can I soothe the pain after surgery?
Following wisdom tooth extraction, certain complications may arise. The patient may experience pain, bleeding and swelling. To aid healing, cold compresses can reduce swelling. Mouthwash can also help reduce bleeding. It's also important to follow your dentist's instructions for post-operative care. He may prescribe analgesics and/or antibiotics. This helps prevent infection.
When can wisdom teeth be retained?
If your wisdom teeth are not causing any symptoms or complications, there's no reason to remove them. Monitoring may be necessary for teeth that have not yet come out, generally at the rate of one panoramic X-ray per year.
All in all, dentists in Switzerland recommend wisdom teeth extraction to prevent complications associated with impacted teeth, dental caries build-up and infections. Patients should always consult a dentist to examine their teeth. He or she will determine whether wisdom teeth need to be extracted.
HELVIDENT dental centers and clinics boast a full team of dentists and specialists. Don't hesitate to Contact us for more information or to book an appointment.