Q: My wisdom teeth have never fully come in and have never bothered me. I'm 35; should I consider having them removed?
A: This question has stirred some debate in the dental community in recent years. One group feels that wisdom teeth should be removed early, before the root is fully formed, to prevent future teeth problems. The other, which I agree with, takes a more conservative approach, recommending removal only when there is a clear rational to do so.
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, sometimes do not have room to fit into the mouth properly. This is believed to be due to the evolution of the human jaw, which has become smaller because of modern refinements in food and cooking. Primitive people needed the "extra" wisdom tooth as other back teeth, molars, broke down with their coarse diet.
Wisdom teeth usually make their appearance from the ages of 17-21. If there is not enough room, they will often cause earaches, headaches, swelling of the gums and potentially cause crowding of the other teeth. A large panoramic X-ray of the jaw, called a panograph, may show a tumor or cyst that can painlessly grow around the wisdom tooth, or destruction of the adjacent molar tooth roots. These are all valid reasons to have wisdom tooth removal.
If you have never had any problems with your wisdom teeth, you should still get them evaluated. If there is no evidence that the wisdom tooth is causing pathology (disease) or damaging other teeth, then I recommend no treatment other than follow up observation at future dental visits.
Remember, only a dentist can diagnose your dental problems and offer the right treatment plan for you. If you need a dentist, call us at 1-866-970-0441 to be connected with one today.