pulling wisdom teeth

pulling wisdom teeth

In contrast to the other teeth, our wisdom teeth usually break through the gums late – often even in adulthood. This is often associated with problems: the wisdom teeth hurt when they break through the gums, or there is insufficient space in the jaw. Incidentally, this lack of space has evolutionary reasons. Our ancestors’ mouth region protruded further, and the jaw was longer. As a result, in ours, it is shortened. However, since the number of teeth has not decreased, there is often insufficient space in the jaw for wisdom teeth. If this is the case, the wisdom teeth must be surgically removed.

When the wisdom tooth comes: Symptoms

Since the wisdom teeth do not break through the gums together with the other teeth, but usually only later, they often find no more space in the mouth. As a result, some of the wisdom teeth only partially break through. This can lead to inflammation or abscesses in the gums.

It can also happen that the wisdom teeth only breakthrough in the upper or lower jaw. Since they lack a counterpart, they usually grow far beyond the chewing surface. Due to the lack of space in the jaw, they often grow crooked.

Pain when speaking and swallowing and pain in the teeth can be signs of an erupting wisdom tooth. If the oral mucosa is swollen or reddened in the corresponding area, this can indicate an inflammation of the wisdom tooth.

If there is inflammation, you should see a dentist. Otherwise, abscesses can occur. If the wisdom tooth does not have enough space, pressure can also build up in the jaw, and the roots of the neighbouring teeth can be damaged. In the worst case, individual teeth can even fall out.


Remove wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth that have not yet erupted often have to be removed because they risk shifting the row of teeth. Whether the wisdom teeth cause such displacements has yet to be scientifically clarified beyond doubt.

Thus, the removal of non-erupted wisdom teeth that do not cause discomfort is based primarily on experience. The dentist will usually weigh the benefits and risks and thus decide on a case-by-case basis.

Wisdom teeth that have already erupted should be removed if

  • they cause pain
  • disturb them while chewing
  • the root or gums are inflamed
  • neighbouring teeth are diseased or
  • they have tooth decay.

Wisdom teeth that have already fully erupted can usually be extracted like other teeth. On the other hand, wisdom teeth that are still in the gums must be surgically removed. This wisdom teeth operation usually takes place under local anaesthesia, but in complicated cases, the wisdom teeth can also be extracted under general anaesthesia. Likewise, when pulling four wisdom teeth at once, some patients prefer general anaesthesia.

Pulling wisdom teeth: This is how the surgery works.

If the wisdom teeth have to be removed by surgery, this is usually done under local anaesthesia. At the beginning of the treatment, the region around the tooth is anaesthetized so that the patient does not feel any pain during the extraction of the wisdom teeth.

Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, the dentist will expose the wisdom tooth in the jawbone and then remove the tooth. If the tooth is firmly anchored in the jaw or lies across the jaw, the dentist may have to cut through the wisdom tooth. The dentist sews up the wound once the wisdom tooth is completely removed. The stitches are then removed about a week after the wisdom tooth surgery.


Possible risks of wisdom tooth surgery

Various complications can occur during and after wisdom tooth surgery. The dentist has to be extremely careful during the operation to avoid injuring nerves. Otherwise, numbness in the face can be the result.

The risk of inflammation is exceptionally high after wisdom tooth surgery. Therefore, certain foods, such as whole grain products, should be avoided in the first few days.

In addition, the risk of a jaw fracture is also increased after the wisdom tooth operation since removing the wisdom tooth leaves a hole in the jaw that takes several weeks to heal completely. Strikes and jabs to the jaw should be avoided during this period.

Pain after the operation is normal if one or more wisdom teeth are removed. The doctor treating you will usually prescribe a pain reliever to relieve the pain. The active ingredient  ASA should not be taken because it has a blood-thinning effect.

After about a week at the latest, the pain should also have subsided when the wound is closed. If this is not the case or if the pain increases, the wound may be infected, which should be urgently clarified by the doctor treating you.

Wisdom tooth surgery: Smoking endangers wound healing

The wound will continue to bleed a little immediately after the wisdom teeth have been extracted. The bleeding can then be staunched with a small swab. To keep the swelling as low as possible after removing the wisdom teeth, cold washcloths or wrapped cool packs should be available, with which the cheeks can be cooled, especially in the first 24 hours after the operation.

In addition, the cold packs can also help to alleviate the pain. However, ice-cold cool packs should never be placed directly on the skin but wrapped in a kitchen towel or something similar.

Coffee, black tea and energy drinks should be avoided in the first few days after the operation, as caffeine can increase blood pressure and increase the risk of postoperative bleeding. Likewise, no alcohol should be drunk, as it inhibits blood clotting. In addition, smoking should also be avoided after the extraction of wisdom teeth, as wound healing is disturbed by tobacco smoke.

After wisdom tooth surgery: food and exercise

After removing the wisdom teeth, you should limit your eating in the first few days. Whole grain products and crumbly foods should be avoided so no crumbs can get into the wound and cause inflammation. Dairy products should also be avoided after the operation, as the lactic acid bacteria they contain increase the risk of infection in the wound.

Due to the swelling after removing the wisdom teeth and possible pain when chewing, it is advisable not to eat soups that are too hot and mushy, such as applesauce or mashed potatoes.

You should avoid exercising for about two weeks after the wisdom teeth have been extracted, as the increased blood pressure can lead to postoperative bleeding. For the same reason, visits to the sauna, solarium, and extensive sunbathing should be postponed later.

If wisdom teeth have been removed from the upper jaw, you should avoid sneezing or blowing your nose in the first few days after the operation, as this can also lead to bleeding.


Dental care after wisdom tooth surgery

Dental care should be continued as usual after the wisdom teeth have been extracted. If the wound is still fresh, the teeth around the wound can be spared when brushing your teeth.

These teeth should also be carefully cleaned as soon as possible. If necessary, an extra soft toothbrush can be used for this area. If brushing your teeth causes too much pain in the first few days, you can also use an antiseptic mouthwash. This lowers the risk of infection and reduces the number of germs in the mouth.


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