To Extract Or Not To Extract That Wisdom Tooth

Often times patients ask me if they should extract their wisdom teeth. This is still a topic of controversy and many professionals will disagree. That is why you need to discuss your concerns with your own dentist. Below is a guideline that I use.

Most wisdom teeth should be extracted between age 15 to 20. At about 15 years old the roots are not fully formed and are easy to extract. The roots start to form thereafter and can wrap themselves around the nerve that runs inside the jaw. At age 21 the roots are fully formed and extraction runs the highest risks of developing permanent numbness.
However, I still recommend them to be extracted at age 21. The reason is that when you are young the body will heal right away versus when you are older it will take much longer to heal. So this type of extraction should be done before problems develop.
There are exceptions to this rule. These are the guidelines I use for the exceptions. In patients with symptoms such as pain, where there is no disease, the dentist should look for the source of the pain. Often times the source of the pain could be teeth grinding or sinus pain. In these patients, extractions should not be considered because it could lead to more pain. In all other cases where disease is present such an infection, or if the tooth is impacted, the tooth should always be extracted. In cases where there is neither symptoms or disease, the tooth should be left alone.

In conclusion, if there is disease, the tooth should always be extracted. In cases where the tooth has proper space to erupt and there is no disease, the tooth should be left alone even if the tooth hurts. Remember that this is the guideline I use to treat my patients. I refer all my patients to the oral surgeon to get more information. If you still have any wisdom teeth, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.