AGE AS A RISK FACTOR FOR THIRD MOLAR SURGERY COMPLICATIONS
No matter what your age, if you still have your wisdom teeth (third molar teeth, “eight” teeth) and especially if they are impacted (below the surface), I strongly urge you to have the evaluation by an OMS for concerns and risks. Absolutely, for my family members, friends, and patients; I strongly urge that earlier removal be considered as part of a long term oral health plan.
I hear many patients and even dentists who recommend a “wait and see” approach. Something like “we will deal with them when they become a problem”. Or “they are not causing any problems so we can wait”. Wait for what? For infection, bone loss, decay, cysts? I get to deal with these types of problems everyday and there is no question in my mind that “waiting” for the most part is a bad choice and early removal, no matter what your age, is usually the best choice.
At mid teen years, the risks with third molar removal are close to zero. By 20 years old the third molars are well formed in the jaw and this starts the greater risk process. As decades go by, there are increased risks from many standpoints. The advent of the cone beam scan to assess the position and risks in three dimensions has made the process even safer. We use careful and gentle surgical techniques.
If you still have your wisdom teeth, especially if they are impacted, please get an evaluation for care. In most cases, younger is better. (J Oral Maxillofac Surg 65:1685-1692, 2007).
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