Dr. Stephan Ziegler, the leading dentist and founder of the KU64 dentist's office in Berlin, answers.
When do wisdom teeth have to be drawn from your point of view and why? When can they be preserved?
"Nowadays wisdom teeth do not have to be removed any more. The decision for or against surgery depends on several factors. If the so-called eighth do not break through and remain in the jaw without consequences for the rest of the dentition, there is no need for removal. If an X-ray image shows an imminent breakthrough, we first assess the available space and the direction of growth. For: in small pines or obliquely growing wisdom teeth there is the risk that the stragglers exert pressure on the neighboring cheek teeth and move the entire row of teeth. In these cases it is recommended to remove them. If the conditions are correct, there is nothing to prevent the breakthrough. However, this should be done under regular medical supervision.
In some cases only a part of the wisdom tooth reaches the surface and it does not break completely. In this case, gauze-shaped gingival pockets are formed, in which rapid bacterial colonization occurs. Painful, permanent inflammatory lesions are the result. As a rule of thumb, break the aft completely within one to two years, should dentists remove them surgically. Wisdom tooth operations usually take place on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. In particularly anxious patients, the procedure can also be performed under general anesthesia. "
Do wisdom teeth have a specific purpose? Which?
"Wisdom teeth are remnants of the early history of mankind, but these days they have no essential function. They break through without complications and fit well into the existing tooth chain, but they can still serve us. For example, as a replacement tooth, if a molar tooth is lost, or a supporting pillar for possibly necessary dentures such as bridges. "
Is it true that the jaw has become narrower in the course of evolution?
"Evolution is a progressive process in which human forms adapt to the changing functions. By the ever smaller and softer prepared food, today's society does not have to chew as much as before. As a result, the jaw lacks the necessary growth stimulus in the long term and shrinks gradually. Compared to our Stone Age ancestors today, it has a much smaller form and therefore offers the genetic teeth in too little space. "
Are there certain data on how many Germans live without their wisdom teeth?
"In Germany more than one million surgical wisdom tooth remedies take place annually. This procedure is one of the most frequent outpatient surgeries in dental medicine. "