Wisdom Teeth: To Extract or Not to Extract?

Impacted Wisdom ToothImpacted wisdom teeth are the third molars that are still inside the bone and under the gum tissue. Some times it’s difficult for patients to determine if they need their wisdom teeth out, especially if they are asymptomatic or haven’t caused issues. The decision on whether to treat the wisdom teeth mainly depends on if they are causing pain/symptoms or have a high chance to cause problems in the future.

Some facts about wisdom teeth:

    • Third molars that remain impacted after the age of 25 can still shift/move or change position
    • When wisdom teeth are difficult to clean and maintain hygiene, bone loss can occur which can start affecting the 2ng molars adjacent to them
    • Risks of complications from wisdom tooth removal increases with age after 25 years old (1.5 times likelihood of complications)
    • Do wisdom teeth cause crowding?
      • Despite studies on this topic, there is not a hard fact that wisdom teeth cause crowding because there are so many factors that cause teeth to crowd.

Unfortunately, there is no study that isolates the effect of wisdom teeth from the other factors of crowding so it is difficult to prove or disprove.

  • Indications for removal of wisdom teeth:
  • Pain or symptoms
  • Cysts around the wisdom teeth
  • For Braces or orthodontics
  • Cavities or high risk of infection
  • Bone loss or periodontal disease
  • Damage to adjacent teeth
  • Infection or pericoronitis

If you have any questions about your wisdom teeth, we would be happy to talk to you about your particular case during a consultation.

Written by Sarah Bong-Thakur, DDS, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

References:

  • AAOMS White Papers from 2016 and 2014
  • InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Should you have your wisdom teeth removed? [Updated 2020 May 7]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279590/