DOES RETAINING THIRD MOLARS RESULT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PATHOLOGY OVER TIME?

To me, this seems like a silly question because I have had over 35 years of experience treating patients of all ages with wisdom tooth problems and absolutely the types of problems, severity of problems, and the risks of treatment increase with age – and transversely are much less in the younger patient. I have found age 15 to be the ideal age for most patients. But I would rather treat a patient at any early age rather than an older age (earlier is better with few exceptions). One of the more common statements that I hear is that “I have had my impacted teeth for years and they have never caused my any problems.” In many cases this is analogous to saying, “I have this cavity in my tooth and it has not caused me a problem yet, why should I treat it?” Well eventually, these things are likely to cause problems and the problems they cause will end up being greater than they would be with proper care and treatment. This is especially an issue with lower wisdom teeth which often put the “feeling nerve” in the lower jaw at risk.

The bottom line is – it is better to get your wisdom teeth evaluated and treated if they are at risk at any early age. Have this evaluation done by an oral surgeon who can properly assess the risks. We are the experts.

(J Oral Maxillofac Surg 78: 1892-1908, 2020)