Gone are the days when everybody has his or her wisdom teeth out as a matter of course. Wisdom teeth can stay in your mouth not causing any problems for many years and in fact they may never do so.
At 60 my dad still has two impacted partially erupted lower wisdom teeth which have never ever given him problems. That’s just an example- your dentist will be able to advise you about your specific case after assessing you wisdom teeth visually and on the X-ray
Because surgery is often unpleasant and there are risks and potential complications associated with taking your wisdom teeth out
, it is important there is a good reason for doing it.
Different dentists have different schools of thought on the ‘removing healthy wisdom teeth’ dilemma. Though there is increasing evidence to support leaving non- problematic wisdom teeth, some dentists still prefer to remove them. At the end of the day, it is down to the individual dentist and the patients’ preferences. It is important you ask any questions you may have, about your particular situation so you can make an informed decision.
If a large periodontal pocket over 5mm exists between the wisdom tooth and the molar in front, then future problems may be more likely and some evidence suggests that in this case, extraction of a non-symptomatic tooth may be advisable.
If your impacted wisdom teeth are not causing trouble, there's no evidence to suggest that removing them helps or hurts
your future health. It seems to be agreed however, that preventing crowding of your incisor teeth is not reason to have them extracted.
A selection of evidence:
The Cochraine Collaboration
- A special research body that review all available evidence on certain topics, performed an in depth review on the effect of removing asymptomatic wisdom teeth (those not giving problems). The conclusion was that no evidence existed in favour of, or against their removal and that extraction did not help prevent incisor crowding.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, (NICE)
in the UK looks at the cost effectiveness of dental services. It says there is no evidence that taking out disease free impacted wisdom teeth is of benefit and advises against removal, considering the risk of complications and discomfort form the procedure.
The American Public Health Association
developed a policy called ‘Opposition to Prophylactic Removal of Third Molars (Wisdom Teeth), because of injuries resulting from unnecessary extractions. They state that the removal of teeth should be based on a demonstrable need or pathology, rather than an expectation of future problems.