A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Wisdom teeth removal: When is it necessary?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wisdom-teeth-removal/AN01961
- With Mayo Clinic prosthodontist
Alan Carr, D.M.D.read biographyclose window
Alan Carr, D.M.D.Alan B. Carr, D.M.D.
Dr. Alan B. Carr, Department of Dental Specialties at Mayo Clinic, is a consultant in the Division of Prosthodontics and a professor of dentistry at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
Dr. Carr, a native of Hattiesburg, MS., received his prosthodontics training at Mayo. Following his training he has was an assistant professor at Marquette University and then became a full professor at Ohio State University where his clinical duties included Director of Maxillofacial Prosthetics at the James Cancer Hospital. He returned to Mayo in 2000.
Dr. Carr is board certified by the American Board of Prosthodontics. He served in the Air Force and has degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi, University of Mississippi and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He also is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, the American College of Prosthodontists and the American Dental Association. He has made dozens of international and national presentations, and is author of a dental textbook.
His clinical practice focuses on combined prosthodontics and reconstruction of patients with disabling oral conditions. His research interests include oral and craniofacial endosseous implants, tobacco cessation, and the impact of oral health on general health, especially for patients with chronic illness and the elderly.
- Wisdom teeth removal: When is it necessary?
Treatments and drugs (1)
- OraVerse: Reversing dental numbness
Wisdom teeth removal: When is it necessary?
My dentist suggested I have my wisdom teeth removed, but they’re not causing problems. Is wisdom teeth removal necessary?
from Alan Carr, D.M.D.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
|Impacted wisdom teeth|
Wisdom teeth removal may not be necessary if the teeth are:
- Fully erupted — grown in completely
- Positioned correctly and biting properly with the opposite tooth
- Able to be cleaned as part of daily hygiene practices
Many times, however, wisdom teeth — the third molars in the very back of your mouth — don't have room to grow properly and cause problems. Erupting wisdom teeth can grow at various angles in the jaw, sometimes even horizontally. Some wisdom teeth only partially emerge through the gums. Other times, they remain completely hidden. Wisdom teeth that aren't able to emerge normally become impacted, or trapped, within your jaw.
To prevent an impacted tooth, dentists often recommend removing the wisdom teeth before they emerge or grow too large. Many dentists believe it's better to remove the teeth when someone is younger and more likely to recover faster from surgery. This is why many teenagers or young adults have their wisdom teeth extracted before the teeth cause problems and become more firmly rooted in the jaw.
Wisdom teeth removal may be necessary — according to the American Dental Association — if:
- Wisdom teeth partially emerge through the gums. This increases the chance of a bacterial infection called pericoronitis.
- Unerupted wisdom teeth are expected to grow crooked and damage other teeth.
- A fluid-filled sac (cyst) develops around an unerupted wisdom tooth, which can damage surrounding tissue or bone.
The decision to remove wisdom teeth isn't always clear. Talk to your dentist or an oral surgeon about the position and health of your wisdom teeth and what's best for your situation.Next question
OraVerse: Reversing dental numbness
- Wisdom teeth. American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/2988.aspx?currentTab=1. Accessed Dec. 16, 2010.
- Gonsalves W. Oral health. In: South-Paul JE, et al. Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Family Medicine. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3036778. Accessed Dec. 17, 2010.
- Wisdom teeth. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. http://www.aaoms.org/wisdom_teeth.php. Accessed Dec. 16, 2010.
- Carr AB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 17, 2010.
- Jauch EC, et al. Mouth. In: Knoop KJ, et al. The Atlas of Emergency Medicine. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6001473. Accessed Dec. 16, 2010.