When asked if impacted wisdom teeth automatically should be removed, over half the dentists surveyed felt they should usually be removed, but not always. Some pointed to the fact that this is a skilled procedure where the dentist needs to have experience in the removal of wisdom teeth.
“If they have the TRAINING and EXPERIENCE there is no reason why a generalist should not be extracting impacted wisdom teeth,” advised one dentist. “This applies to almost any “specialty” service . . .”
In this dental survey, 53% felt wisdom teeth should usually be removed, but not always; while 40% were evenly split between 20% warning that impacted wisdom teeth almost always need to be extracted, and 20% stating many impacted wisdom teeth do not need to be removed; and 9% insisted that impacted wisdom teeth need to be extracted.
Here are some dentist comments:
- “I have been removing wisdom teeth for more than 26 years. The vast majority of impacted wisdom teeth
should be removed before age 20 to simplify the procedure for both the patient and the dentist. The need to remove these teeth later in life is a much more complicated and risky procedure. There is too much potential risk to leave wisdom teeth impacted for most patients.” (Arkansas dentist)
- “Use common sense. You need to have a reason why the procedure is done . The patient needs to be better off because of the procedure.” (New York dentist)
- “I have seen too many 50+ year olds with impacted third molars contributing to to the loss of second molars due to attachment loss.” (California periodontist)
- “I had a 73 year old man whose #1 erupted and had to be removed. Better to get them out early while recovery/surgery is not so complicated.” (Texas dentist)
- “Age is the most important variable.” (General dentist)
- “3rd molars ought to be evaluated for each patient to determine whether or if surgery is indicated. After 50 years of practice, I have seen many untreated impacted 3rd molars, but very rarely a problem from them.” (Missouri dentist)
- “If they’re there and functional, clean, so be it! Also depends on the age. I’m not about to tell a 80 year old lady she has a perio-pocket on #32 D and if she’s not able to keep it clean, it needs to go!” (New York dentist)
- “Of course it depends on your experience, training and comfort level, but any GP can learn how to do this. Note that if it were not for wisdom tooth extraction and dental implants, OMS specialists would have nothing to do with dentistry!” (General dentist)