Experts now advise against removing wisdom teeth unless there is a pressing dental issue. This is because there is no scientific evidence that removing wisdom teeth has any health benefits, and the procedure can be unpleasant and cause side effects. In many cases, wisdom teeth don't even cross the gums or grow, or only part of them do. The most serious risks, which become more common with age, include damage to nerves and blood vessels. As with any surgery, wisdom tooth extraction carries a very rare risk of death.
It is important to note that not all wisdom tooth extractions are unnecessary. Wisdom teeth can become infected, cause cavities or cysts, damage neighboring teeth, and cause a lot of pain if they remain in people's jaws. Most oral surgeons agree that prevention is better than cure when it comes to wisdom teeth. People who have wisdom teeth buried under their bones and don't have symptoms at age 25 are probably best left alone and monitored throughout their lives. A study published two years ago by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons found that 8 out of 10 young adults who kept their wisdom teeth had problems within seven years, and that monitoring their teeth could be more expensive than removing them in time.
Even wisdom teeth that come out properly can develop problems over time because they're way back in the mouth and are difficult to clean. In recent years, there has been debate about the appropriateness of removing wisdom teeth when there is no urgent dental problem. The United Kingdom stopped routinely removing wisdom teeth without solid evidence in 1998, after a study by the University of York concluded that there was no scientific evidence to support it. A 1988 study showed that only 12 percent of the 1,756 middle-aged people who didn't have their impacted wisdom teeth removed experienced a complication. If wisdom teeth are impacted, preventing proper oral hygiene, it's often best to have them removed. There is general agreement that they should be removed if they cause pain or other problems, such as decay in those teeth and adjacent teeth, gum and bone diseases, and cysts.
Talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about the position and health of your wisdom teeth and what's best for your situation. So what should you do if your dentist recommends that you have your wisdom teeth removed? It is recommended to try to understand if surgery is really worth the risk in your case and if there are less invasive treatments you can use first. While a study showed that leaving wisdom teeth in place did increase the risk of complications in the future, this was not the whole story. When it comes to wisdom teeth, it's important to weigh up all the risks and benefits before making a decision. It's always best to talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about your individual situation before making any decisions about whether or not to remove your wisdom teeth.