Friday, November 04, 2011

Do Those Wisdom Teeth REALLY Need to Come Out?

More than likely.
More and more people are asking the same question.

"We don't remove everyone's appendix so 'Why not wait till there's a  problem?' is a question that's often asked," said Dr. Louis Rafetto, who is on the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

However, Dr. Rafetto says waiting can be a mistake.

"Waiting until they notice that there's a problem is really waiting until  the problem has already caused some damage. This would be like saying if we know somebody has high blood pressure should we wait until they start to have symptoms?" said Dr. Rafetto.

Dr. Rafetto predicts the vast majority of people will run into problems.

"The longest term study which was done in Finland would indicate that 80 percent of people over an 18 year period had to have their  wisdom teeth removed because they had developed problems," said Dr. Rafetto.

But another study finds the number of extractions could be cut by 60 percent if they were only done when patients are in pain or if their wisdom teeth aren't coming in straight, otherwise researchers advised monitoring the teeth instead.

 "A lot of people and dentists are under the belief that wisdom teeth can cause crowding of the teeth. It has not been proven in the literature," said Dr. Ruben Cohen, an oral surgeon.

Dr. Cohen believes there should be good reason for removing wisdom teeth, which is what happened in Kwilecki's case.
The best approach is to have a frank conversation with your dentist and oral surgeon. There are risks in waiting until you are older, as surgery is almost always better tolerated when the patient is younger. Technically some surgeries are easier on young patients because of the nature of the jaw bone.

However, some wisdom teeth or third molars do not need to be removed.

Just ask your dentist.

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