Yesterday I wrote a response to the New York Times article that claimed that too many wisdom teeth were being unnecessarily extracted in the U.S. So this morning I got to the office and what do you think I see in my first two patients? Wisdom teeth dilemmas.
The first patient, a 40 year old mom, had all of her wisdom teeth, but one was severely decayed. The only option was extraction. She was not doing an adequate job of keeping the teeth free of plaque. The second patient was a younger woman, also with retained wisdom teeth. Her home care is good, but her wisdom teeth are semi-impacted in the soft tissue and difficult to reach. These teeth were coated with plaque. Extraction is certainly a viable option but I left the choice to her.
If the teeth are problematic, it is better to do the extractions while a person is younger because the healing capacity is better in younger people and as people age, other health problems have the potential to complicate any extractions. So this is another factor weighing in on early extraction. Again, experience and judgment as well as patient communication are key.