Wisdom Teeth – Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed or Not?

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My Wisdom Teeth Removed has not been proven to have many health benefits. The removal is also uncomfortable and can have side effects.

Introduction

In most cases, wisdom teeth removal is only recommended if problems have arisen or are foreseeable. Pulling symptom-free wisdom teeth has not been proven to have many health benefits. The removal is also uncomfortable and can have side effects.

Wisdom teeth often do not erupt at all or only partially. Up to 80% of young adults in Europe have at least one wisdom tooth that has not erupted. This happens more in the lower jaw than in the upper jaw. Usually, it is because there is not enough space in the jaw. Then other teeth block the way, or the tooth grows crooked.

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For many people, non-erupted (retained) wisdom teeth do not cause any symptoms. But they can also lead to pain, swelling, tooth decay, or inflammation of the gums. They also sometimes move neighboring teeth. Broken wisdom teeth can either fit in without any problems or cause discomfort.

When does it make sense to have the wisdom teeth removed?

Whether it is better to remove your wisdom teeth or not depends mostly on whether they are already causing problems or are likely to be. It is important to clarify the following questions before treatment:

Have wisdom teeth already caused pain and damage to the jaw or neighboring teeth, or has the risk increased?

Do wisdom teeth interfere with the development of dentition?

Could they interfere with a planned dental or orthodontic treatment?

What are the risks of the procedure?

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Could wisdom teeth be a suitable replacement for lost or badly damaged molars?

People with displaced front teeth or small jaws sometimes fear that their teeth will move even more when their wisdom teeth erupt. That doesn’t have to be the case. The same applies to these people: if wisdom teeth are not expected to affect other teeth, they can leave them in place.

What side effects can removal have?

For most people, the mouth and cheeks are swollen after surgery, and they cannot fully open the mouth for hours or even days. Many people experience pain immediately after the procedure, but it will soon subside.

However, if pain returns after 4–5 days, gets worse, and is accompanied by swelling or bad breath, this indicates an infection of the wound. This problem can occur when a blood clot covering a wound breaks off prematurely, leaving the wound unprotected. Antiseptic mouthwashes or gels can help prevent these complications. There is usually no need to take antibiotics.

Nerves or blood vessels can be injured during the procedure. This can lead to bleeding and usually temporary numbness of the tongue or face. Serious infections are rare. About 1 in 100 people may experience permanent problems due to the procedure, such as loss of sensation or damage to adjacent teeth. The risk depends on the scope of the procedure.

Extraction of wisdom teeth usually requires local anesthesia, and in larger operations, general anesthesia.

Many people turn to pain medication after surgery. Sometimes pain relievers are given before the procedure. Both ibuprofen and acetaminophen can reduce pain after a procedure. The active ingredient ASA is not suitable before or after an operation, as it increases bleeding risk.

Studies show that ibuprofen at a dose of 400 mg relieves pain better than paracetamol at a dose of 1000 mg. A combination of paracetamol 1000 mg and ibuprofen 400 mg relieves the symptoms better than the same dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen alone, and the effects last longer.

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To exceed the maximum dose for the two active substances, adults should take this combination no more than about every eight hours. For adults, the maximum dose for ibuprofen is 800 to 1200 mg in 24 hours. The maximum dose for paracetamol is 4000 mg in 24 hours.

Sometimes the enzyme preparation bromelain is also given, which is said to have anti-inflammatory effects and relieve pain. However, there are no good studies on the benefits of this active ingredient.

To reduce the swelling, you can cool the cheek with a cold pack for the first few days. Smoking or drinking hot drinks or fruit juices in the first few days after the procedure can interfere with wound healing. Still, water or, for example, lukewarm chamomile tea is suitable as a drink. Hard foods can also cause problems. Soups that are not too hot and foods that can be chopped up with the tongue, for example, potatoes, fish, or pasta, are cheaper.

It is better to avoid strenuous activities such as sports and the sauna in the days after the operation because they can impair wound healing. This is true even when you are feeling good again.

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