A few days ago an article titled “Do I Really Need to Remove My Wisdom Teeth? appeared in Community Magazine by Jacques Doueck located at http://www.communitym.com/article.asp?article_id=101936
The article opens with
“I was prompted to write this article because of two adult patients who suffered severe damage, infection, and swelling because they delayed taking out wisdom teeth. One of them actually broke his jaw because of a wisdom tooth that should have been removed long ago. The patient, 48 years old, lost both teeth and the fractured jaw forced him to eat baby food for six months. The other patient was 65 years old and had to have the wisdom tooth and the adjacent molar removed.”
This opening in this article kind of cracks me up because both of these patients are quite old, especially the 65 year old.
Of course we could go back and forth all day with between cases like the above and cases of young healthy individuals such as myself who had there wisdom teeth removed at a young age and then had lasting pain and problems for life. Numerous reports of complications from wisdom teeth extractions are indicated at the wisdom teeth stories page and complications page.
Even so the article does offer some useful advice, such as this
“If a wisdom tooth is completely horizontal, the chances of bone disease are so high that we can predict with pretty good probability that in 10 or 20 years that person will have gum and bone problems that will pose a risk to other teeth.”
Several studies have explored horizontally impacted wisdom teeth to demonstrate that they are the least likely to erupt normally as discussed on the wisdom teeth risks page.
Another important piece of advice from the article is this
“A wisdom tooth that comes only part way through the skin leaves a person open to high risk of decay and infection. “
The article does mention that wisdom teeth should not be removed routinely and that wisdom teeth crowding is not a valid reason to remove wisdom teeth.
Even so, I do disagree with some of the arguments made in the article such as saying that the best age to remove wisdom teeth is between 16 and 18 and saying that by waiting it may be much more difficult to recover. An ideal age to remove wisdom teeth is debatable and further studies should be undertaken as indicated over at http://www.teethremoval.com/wisdomteeth.html
The guidelines for removing wisdom teeth are indicated over at http://www.teethremoval.com/wisdomteeth.html which say that an impacted wisdom tooth should only be removed if it is causing a problem or there is some other indication for the surgery.
In these current guidelines no mention of a horizontally impacted wisdom tooth and partially erupted wisdom tooth is present but certainly this should be considered as a potential reason to remove wisdom teeth. However, due to the potential for serious harm to occur with wisdom teeth removal, such as what happened to me, I think one needs to carefully consider the current facts and evidence before removing any wisdom teeth that are not causing problems.