Do I have to have my wisdom teeth out?

In the following article, we’ll explain when a wisdom tooth operation is necessary, how it usually works, and what options there are for those patients whose teeth have already shifted out of position.

We usually start to notice them because of a sudden feeling of pressure in our jaw, or very red, swollen gums just before they break through: Yes, we’re talking about wisdom teeth. These typical ‘teething’ symptoms heralding the arrival of the last teeth missing from your adult dentition mostly appear between the ages of 18 and 25. Yet some people are spared the whole experience. Biologically and genetically speaking, wisdom teeth are one of nature’s discontinued models, which is why some people no longer seem to develop them.

However, for those of us who do get them, they often mean pain and the need for orthodontics or dental surgery. It’s not uncommon for those affected to subsequently suffer from misaligned teeth, which is not only perceived as an aesthetic blemish but can also negatively affect oral health. But what does that mean for you? And are adult braces always the next step?

Around one million wisdom tooth operations per year

The extraction of wisdom teeth is one of the most frequently performed dental procedures, and experts estimate that more than a million operations take place every year. But why do doctors so often recommend having these ‘eights’ removed?

Toothache caused by wisdom teeth

In addition to seven regular teeth, wisdom teeth are the last in line in each quadrant of our jaw. A relic from the Stone Age, their original evolutionary purpose was to replace teeth that had already fallen out and thus take over their function. But nowadays, with so many lifestyle improvements, we rarely lose teeth. In addition, thanks to dietary changes, human teeth have receded to such an extent that there is often simply no space left for any teeth arriving later. As a result of this, wisdom teeth press against adjacent molars, against the jawbone, and against your gums, which can then become inflamed and rupture.

Removal of wisdom teeth: yes or no?

If wisdom teeth are not decayed or damaged, they are usually left in place. However, if your eights are causing persistent inflammation, if they are misaligned, or if they are wholly or partially trapped within the jaw (impacted), you should seek medical advice from a doctor. Furthermore, persistent pressure on your jaw can lead to tooth crowding over the medium term. And crooked teeth, overlapping teeth, and difficulties with oral hygiene are the long-term consequences.

Surgical removal is advisable if:

  • your jaw is too small

  • complications are considered likely

  • nerves, tooth roots and adjacent teeth are damaged

  • tooth decay is already present

  • there is a persistent infection

  • the tooth becomes impacted (i.e. grows lopsided and gets trapped)

Wisdom tooth surgery: Duration, procedure and costs

In contrast to your other teeth, wisdom teeth are anchored a lot more firmly in the jawbone and typically have strong, branching roots. So, in most cases, any surgical procedure can only be performed by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon.

If the tooth itself has completely broken, it is extracted. But when a tooth is in an inclined position, or if eruption is not complete, then some gum and bone must first be removed to facilitate the extraction. According to the severity of the patient’s condition, the doctor will decide whether a local anaesthetic is sufficient. However, a short-term general anaesthetic is recommended for patients who are particularly sensitive to pain.

As a rule, the simple procedure takes no longer than 20 to 60 minutes (depending on the number of teeth to be extracted) plus two to three hours in the recovery room after the anaesthetic. In addition, patients should also consult with their doctor beforehand to decide whether all four teeth should be extracted at the same time or whether the procedure should be spread over two sessions.

What happens after the operation?

Depending on how well the open wound heals, any pain after the procedure will usually subside within a week or two. After that time, you should no longer experience any pain and should also notice a significant reduction in pressure in the oral cavity.

To help the healing process move forward quickly and without complications, you should pay particular attention to the following:

  • avoid dairy products for the first 24 hours

  • quit smoking for at least 24 hours

  • don’t consume any alcohol for the first four days

  • avoid physical exercise for the first week

  • take a break from competitive sports and similar events for six weeks.

Orthodontic treatment to correct the crooked teeth can only be carried out after all your surgical wounds have healed.

Are wisdom teeth to blame for crooked teeth?

There is some disagreement in the world of dentistry as to whether wisdom teeth alone are responsible for the fact that our adjacent teeth tend to shift and migrate.

Tooth migration in the anterior region often occurs during the middle to end of our second decade of life. Around this same time, your wisdom teeth are also making their presence felt. So it is perhaps obvious that many of those affected will see a connection between the two events. However, such a connection has never actually been scientifically proven. Meanwhile, both camps have conducted their own studies and come to different conclusions.

What can I do if my teeth have already shifted?

Once your teeth are misaligned, only an orthodontic procedure can help. However, the remedy does not always have to be fixed braces. Thanks to state-of-the-art dental technology, gentler and less expensive treatment methods such as invisible teeth aligners are now available, especially for mild and moderately misaligned teeth. Not only are they much less noticeable than traditional fixed braces, but these removable teeth aligners can also easily be incorporated into your everyday life – as many reviews and testimonials from our patients can demonstrate.

Professional tooth correction

If you have any questions about how invisible teeth aligners work, our medical team will be very happy to help you. Just browse through our location page, and you’re sure to find one of our PlusDental practices close to you. Our on-site dentists will carry out a thorough dental analysis which includes an intraoral 3D dental scan of your teeth. Based on this data, our team of dental technicians and a master dental technician will then create a personal treatment plan for you in our Berlin dental laboratory. And best of all: this service is completely free of charge, with no further obligation. After you have received your treatment plan and viewed a 3D simulation of your projected treatment outcome, you can then decide whether or not you wish to start your treatment with our transparent PlusDental aligners.

Book your free scan