Wisdom Teeth…Don’t wait until they hurt!

posted in: General Dentistry | 0

People often put off removal of wisdom teeth because they think if they aren’t hurting it’s okay to leave them alone. There are significant advantages to removing wisdom teeth while you are in your teens. Proper timing makes the biggest difference in reducing complications and the need for the additional treatment. Bone is more flexible in a person until the early twenties. Often the extraction can be timed so that the roots aren’t fully formed making it even easier to remove them. Young people heal more readily; have reduced chance of infection or jaw fracture, and less postoperative pain and swelling. (Not to mention once a teen leaves home for college or work the less influence parents have to make sure their child continues to keep regular dental appointments.)

An adult male man with diabetes came to me as a new patient complaining of severe tooth pain. This patient had a wisdom tooth that never fully erupted (come in). The wisdom tooth was angled forward so the back of his second molar prevented the wisdom tooth from fully erupting. The second molar had gotten deep decay where the two teeth came in contact. This is not uncommon; and, unfortunately, it often does not show up well on x-rays. The patient was in severe pain and needed a root canal and a crown. The crown could not be done until the wisdom tooth was removed; and removing a wisdom tooth for someone of his age and with diabetes presented many health risks including a higher rate of infection, delayed healing, and a higher risk of jaw fracture.

Bottom Line: Removing your wisdom teeth before your early twenties or before they bother you should be discussed with your dentist. Waiting until they bother you is not the best strategy for your health, comfort, and pocket book.