The Risk of Putting Off Extraction of Wisdom Teeth / Asymptomatic Third Molars

An article in the May 2015 issue of JOMS looks at the likelihood that wisdom teeth will need to be removed. (J Oral Maxillofac Surg 73:806-811, 2015). The conclusion is that in most cases the wisdom teeth do need to be removed. What the article does not show specifically and what we know from practice experience is that price of retaining the teeth is high both in real cost as well as the cost of complications, disability, and increased risks.

When it comes to wisdom teeth extraction, in general, the risks associated with leaving the teeth are enough to necessitate their removal.

Here are some of the issues that can arise when wisdom teeth are left and not extracted.

Wisdom Teeth Risk #1: Permanent Damage to Nerves

To me, the most important of these are the risks such as ending up with permanent nerve injury. To the patient, the most important of these are probably the complication of loss of adjacent teeth due to decay or periodontal disease brought on by the wisdom teeth. The reason I say it this way is that in a high percentage of cases we are able to control the nerve injury by careful diagnostics and surgery.

Picture X-ray Human SkullWisdom Teeth Risk #2: Irreversible Decay or Periodontal Problems

We cannot typically reverse periodontal or decay problems after they have started. The bottom line is that it is easy and it is best to evaluate wisdom teeth/third molars at an early age. I recommend seeing your oral and maxillofacial surgeon at about age 15. Need for care, prediction of problems, and proper timing of treatment can be determined with a panoramic x-ray and/or a cone beam scan.

We can assess your wisdom teeth and determine if extraction is needed.

If you’ve got questions about wisdom teeth removal for your children, and when the teeth should be removed call Wagner Oral Surgery at (262) 634-4646 today.

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