An interesting article titled “Is official advice about NOT pulling out wisdom teeth doing more harm than good?” appeared earlier this year in February 2015, on the DailyMail over at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2946498/Is-NHS-causing-agony-telling-dentists-not-pull-wisdom-teeth.html and written by Cara Lee. The article questions whether or not the year 2000 guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) went too far with preventing wisdom teeth extractions in teenagers and young adults. In these guidelines NICE said that the practice of prophylactic removal of pathology-free impacted third molars should be discontinued in the National Health Service in the U.K. Hence only wisdom teeth with problems should be extracted.
In the article on the DailyMail there is a discussion of a 31 year old male who never had wisdom teeth extracted in his teens. Now he needs his wisdom teeth extracted and the molars next to his wisdom teeth possibly extracted due to decay and cavities.
There is also a discussion of a 24 year old female who never had her wisdom teeth extracted in her teens. Now she has been experiencing intense intermittent pain in her lower jaw. Sometimes she had difficulty eating and the pain woke her up from sleeping. This will require now having several wisdom teeth removed.
The article states that in the 1990s in the U.K. around 70,000 people were having wisdom teeth extracted each year. In 2003 this number dropped to 40,000 people (a few years after the guidelines from NICE came out). In 2010 now around 77,000 people are having wisdom teeth extracted each year in the U.K. which is the highest level in 20 years.
The article implies that a lot of older patients in their 30s and 40s are now having wisdom teeth extracted as they did not have the surgery performed in their teenage years and 20s. This may be problematic as many studies conducted have shown that patients over 25 years old have increased risks associated with having wisdom teeth surgery such as nerve damage. The article even says that NICE is considering updating it’s guidelines on wisdom teeth extraction, but I have not seen anything new so far.
The article also addresses some of the costs of wisdom teeth surgery and also that the teeth can be extracted in a few different ways.
To find more information on some of the controversy surrounding wisdom teeth extraction see http://www.teethremoval.com/controversy.html.