At what age should you remove your Wisdom Teeth ?
The answer to that question is hopefully never. I have my wisdom teeth and all my children have their wisdom teeth. In my estimation only 25% of people should have their wisdom teeth removed. If you are one of those unlucky people, that need to have your wisdom teeth removed it is best to have them removed between the ages of 17 and 20 years old, and only if they will cause a problem in the future. (If you google this question: The static will show that 70-90% of people have their wisdom teeth removed. But it is my humble opinion that people are removing their wisdom teeth unnecessarily.) Most people do NOT need to remove their wisdom teeth.
Some would call me an expert in Wisdom Teeth. I have been removing wisdom teeth for over 25 years. I have surgically extracted over 5,000 cases. In fact, it is the only dental procedure that I do. However to make things clear, I am not an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon. I do not perform: cleft lip and palate surgery, orthognathic surgery, fractures of the Jaw, treat oral cancer, nor do I place dental Implants. I only remove wisdom teeth. This is the area that I had special training and this is where my experience lies. Whether they are impacted, infected, overcrowded, upside down, crooked in any which way or form, I can surgically remove them all. And yet I encourage people not to have them removed, unless they will cause a problem in the future.
So how do you know if you need to have them removed? Chances are if your parents had them removed, you will need to remove them as well. It is called Gentics. Some people have large teeth, while others have small mouths. Both of these issues can cause problems in the future. Whether it leads to pericornitis, and infection in the mouth, or crooked teeth. So it is best to deal with the wisdom teeth before they cause a problem. The key word is Prevention.
Reasons to remove your wisdom teeth:
If the wisdom tooth is not erupting straight, it can grow on an angle into the adjacent tooth causing a hole, caries, and periodontal disease of the tooth it pushes against, harming the 2nd molar tooth, a vital tooth in eating.
If the wisdom tooth is not erupting straight, it can grow on an angle away from the adjacent tooth, into the throat area, causing biting of the cheek and gums every time one closes their mouth.
Pericornitis – inflammation and infection of the surrounding gums. This is especially the case when the tooth is impacted sideways or Ankylosed. As the patient gets older a small part of the tooth grows into the mouth, causing a flap of gum to form where food and bacteria are trapped causing inflammation.
To prevent shifting of the teeth. If one feels pressure on all of their teeth, especially after Orthodontic treatment has been completed. After the brackets have been removed, there is a tendency for the wisdom teeth to push all the teeth as they erupt, causing the need to re-do the orthodontic treatment.
If on a Panorex x-ray there is a radiolucency ( a dark blackish area ) behind the wisdom tooth. That is a sign that there is puss and infection under the gums behind the tooth.
Upper wisdom teeth have been known to cause Sinus Problems / Headaches / E.N.T., especially if they do not erupt, and are stuck in the sinus area.
When removing the lower wisdom tooth, it is common practice to remove the opposing upper wisdom tooth, unless it is in occlusion. This is done to prevent downward drift, which will lead to the upper tooth biting on the gums, shifting of the teeth, and causing pain.
When it comes to wisdom tooth removal, the younger the better. Generally, the earliest time is 17-18 years of age. It is also the period that carries the least amount of risk, with a faster and easier recovery.
This last statement can not be stressed enough. I have been removing wisdom teeth for a long time. I have found that timing, the person’s age, to be one of the most important factor in a successful surgery.
Please see your local dentist to determine if you should have your wisdom teeth removed.
This article is a reprint from the magazine: Connections, Israel
Dr. Katz received a Full Scholarship to attend N.Y.U dental school. He graduated in 1993 with Honors. He then trained in N.Y. hospital, where he had special training in the extraction of wisdom teeth. He had a practice in Manhattan and Far Rockaway before moving to Israel. He has been removing wisdom teeth in Beit Shemesh area since the year 2000. He can be reached at : 052-702-5154 or KatzWisdom@gmail.com