Is Not Removing Wisdom Teeth Causing Harm?

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 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 … Read more

Seventeen Year Old Minnesota Teen Dies After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

A few weeks ago in June, 2015, a 17 year old Minnesota woman died about a week after having wisdom teeth surgery. Near the end of the wisdom teeth surgery her blood pressure increased, her pulse dropped, and she went into cardiac arrest. She then was transferred to a hospital and suffered from seizures and swelling in her brain until passing about a week later. It is not clear what caused the death to occur. She could have possibly had an undisclosed heart condition that has occurred in other cases. It is possible for a patient to only become aware of an asymptomatic and abnormal heart rhythm once they come in for a surgery. I have discussed other deaths from wisdom teeth removal on this website (see Based on numerous studies and publications I have said that around 1 … Read more

A Study of Outcomes Related to Wisdom Teeth Removal

An interesting article titled “A Prospective Study of Clinical Outcomes Related to Third Molar Removal or Retention,” appears in the American Journal of Public Health (April 2014, Vol 104, No. 4) written by Greg J. Huang and et al. The article is a companion article to another also on wisdom teeth in the April 2014 issue of the journal. I discussed the companion article last week in the blog post The article opens by mentioning the controversy surrounding the removal of wisdom teeth. On one side some have advocated for wisdom teeth to be removed to prevent future pathology and minimize risks, others have advocated for wisdom teeth to be removed to prevent lower incisor crowding, and others have argued for wisdom teeth to be removed to prevent periodontal pathology. On the other side some have advocated for wisdom … Read more

Practice Based Wisdom Teeth Removal Study

An interesting article titled “Recommendations for Third Molar Removal: A Practice-Based Cohort Study,” appears in the April 2014, issue of the American Journal of Public Health (Vol. 104, No. 4, pp. 728-734), by Joana Cunha-Cruz and et. al. In the article a dental practice based research network Northwest Practice-based REsearch Collaborative in Evidence-based DENTistry (PRECEDENT) is used. A total of 50 general dentists enrolled patients from May 2009 to September 2010.  In the study a total of 797 patients who had wisdom teeth (third molar) recommendations from their general dentist were used who were aged 16 to 22. However, the patients were asked to take a survey every 8 months and then a clinical visit 24 months later.  From this sample of 797 patients only 516 completed at least one follow up questionnaire. In the study the general dentists reported that … Read more

Considerations For the Cost of Wisdom Teeth

In a recent post, I discussed the cost of wisdom teeth management based on an article that appeared earlier this year in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (see Another article discussing wisdom teeth costs also appeared in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 2012 (see In both articles the authors conclude the costs of non-operative management of asymptomatic, disease-free, wisdom teeth exceeds the cost of operative management. I take issue with their conclusions as I believe they make too many simplifications in their analysis. I argue that the authors are ignoring the real risks of having wisdom teeth extracted that are not going to likely occur with non-operative management. Removing wisdom teeth has complications that can result. Some of these can be serious, permanent, and lasting, and cause considerable cost to both the patient … Read more