Wisdom teeth extraction: reasons and procedure

wisdom teeth extraction HELVIDENT

Do you know why wisdom teeth are called wisdom teeth? Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in, usually at the age of majority, between 17 and 25. In some cases, they appear much later in adults. Is wisdom teeth extraction compulsory? How is the surgery performed? Can you keep your wisdom teeth? Find out all the answers in this article.

What are wisdom teeth for?

The human mouth can accommodate up to 32 teeth. However, many of the jaws are smaller. On average, there's room for 28 teeth in an adult's oral cavity. If wisdom teeth - the last to emerge - appear correctly, they optimize the chewing process. In fact, they grow at both ends of each dental arch. They're also known as third molars.

Each arch consists of two central incisors, two lateral incisors, two canines, four premolars and four molars, arranged symmetrically. Depending on the case, you may have none, one, two, three or four wisdom teeth to complete your dentition. 

Why extract third molars?

If all 28 teeth are in the right position, wisdom teeth will have difficulty finding their way in. This can lead to a number of problems. You can make an appointment at a dental practice in Lausanne or elsewhere in Switzerland to check the condition of your teeth. Your dentist will take a panoramic X-ray to assess the potential damage caused by the emergence of your wisdom teeth. It's a good idea to monitor their progress regularly.

Reasons for wisdom tooth extraction :

  • lack of space on the dental arch
  • poor positioning
  • displacement of adjacent teeth
  • infection of neighboring teeth
  • inflammation of the tissues, called pericoronitis, when the tooth is half-expanded, providing an entry point for bacteria
  • the cavity formation

When wisdom teeth emerge, patients generally experience discomfort and even pain. In some cases, they also cause difficulty in opening the mouth and/or eating. A dentist should be consulted immediately. He/she may advise you to use a specific mouthwash or antibiotics before considering extraction.  

How does the operation work? 

Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure to remove all or some of the wisdom teeth. It does not require hospitalization, and can be performed in a dental clinic in Fribourg, for example. With very few exceptions, the patient goes home the same day. 

Extractions can be performed under local or regional anesthesia. Anesthesia is the exception rather than the rule, because of the risks involved. Depending on the position and number of wisdom teeth to be removed, the operation can be performed in one or two stages. 

Here are the questions to ask your dentist before the operation: 

  • Do I need someone to drive me home after the procedure?
  • Are there any medications or treatments to avoid before wisdom teeth extraction?
  • What time should I arrive at the dental clinic?
  • Do I have to fast? If so, for how many hours?

On the day of the operation, the surgeon makes an incision in the gum to expose the wisdom tooth and the jawbone. He opens the way to find the root and remove the entire tooth. The site is then cleaned and stitches may be inserted to facilitate healing. Finally, the dental surgeon checks that there is no bleeding before letting you go. 

How to relieve pain after wisdom teeth extraction?

We strongly recommend that you rest for 24 hours after the operation. Ideally, reduce your activities to a minimum for a week to allow the blood to clot properly.

Choose lukewarm or cold foods with a soft consistency, and avoid acidic or very salty dishes. Visit tobacco consumption and/or alcohol is strongly discouraged, as it delays healing and increases the risk of complications.

To limit swelling, place an ice pack against your cheek. Always follow your dentist's advice and prescription. He or she will probably schedule a second appointment to check on the after-effects of the operation. 

What if you decide to keep your wisdom teeth?

For some people, wisdom teeth never appear. Others are lucky enough to have enough space in their dental arches for them to grow in properly. In this case, they pose no problem, and all that's required is regular monitoring during annual check-ups.

HELVIDENT welcomes you to its three dental clinics in Fribourg, Lausanne and Aigle. Our dentists perform wisdom teeth extraction, among many other procedures. Don't hesitate to Contact us to schedule a consultation.