Preventative Removal of Wisdom Teeth: Disadvantages
Oral surgeons and dentists all agree that, if wisdom teeth are causing pain, they should be removed. Another good reason to remove them is if there are signs that tooth decay or an infection is forming.
So, some say that wisdom teeth should be removed before any problems arise. But, are there disadvantages to preventative wisdom tooth removal?
Is it better to just “wait and see” if wisdom teeth cause problems instead?
Every year, five million people have their wisdom teeth removed, but not all these removals were because of a current problem or pain. Some are removed as a preventative measure, but some dentists and oral surgeons say the risk of complications outweigh the potential benefits.
Wisdom tooth removal can result in infection, facial nerve injury, pain, uncontrolled bleeding, long healing time, and poor healing.
Because of these serious risks, removing wisdom teeth when there are no symptoms is not advised by many dental health professionals. They prefer to wait and see if any problems arise: for some people, they never have any problems with their wisdom teeth.
In fact, since 2008, the American Public Health Association has opposed the practice of removing wisdom teeth when there are no symptoms of a problem.
Also, a review of studies done through the National Institutes of Health found that “watching and waiting may reduce the number of surgical procedures by 60 percent or more.” So, more than half of all wisdom tooth removal surgeries may not be necessary!
Other dental professionals say that removing wisdom teeth before there are problems can prevent overcrowding as well. However, one 2012 study found that there isn’t any evidence that this actually will reduce or prevent the crowding of other teeth in the future.
In short, there are many disadvantages to preventative wisdom tooth removal. It’s important to talk with you dentist about which approach is right for you, and how to best deal with any dental health or wisdom teeth issues you may have.