Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth
(Wisdom Tooth) 
Being the last teeth to form and located at the back of the jaw bones, wisdom teeth  often don't have enough room to come into the mouth, presenting circumstances that are leading causes of severe pain, infection, and suffering for many of us. 

Who is Affected? 

Most of us are affected by impacted wisdom teeth (wisdom teeth that are covered by bone and gum). 


Problems with wisdom start as early as the mid teen years. 

What to Do 

There are only two things to do:  remove the wisdom teeth or observe them over the years by your dentist. 

Do not wait until you have pain or any problem that you or your dentist could see.  Have your wisdom teeth evaluated by an oral surgeon if you had not done so.  Having impacted wisdom teeth is already a problem by itself.  See an oral surgeon to have a discussion about what problems impacted wisdom teeth may affect you now and in the future. 

If there is such a thing as the ideal time to remove wisdom teeth, many oral surgeons believe, including Dr. Woo, it is about age 17 years old. 

If someone is older than the ideal time to have the wisdom teeth removed, often times the risks of surgery are higher and the healing is more complicated. 

Asymptomatic Wisdom Teeth 

These are wisdom teeth that have not caused someone pain, infection, damage to other teeth, or showing other pathologies such as having a cyst growing from the wisdom tooth. However, the fact that a wisdom tooth is impacted is a pathology.

Some insurance companies do not cover surgery for these wisdom teeth.  Some dentists may recommend not having these teeth removed. 

There are also hypothetical studies by non-clinicians to argue that it is not "cost-effective" to remove asymptomatic wisdom teeth. 

However, many patients who initially have asymptomatic wisdom teeth eventually end up with pain, infection, damage to other teeth, or other problems.  Unfortunately, often times the damages are already done by this time.  Also when these patients are older, the risks of surgery are higher.

Some patients for whom Dr. Woo would not recommend removal of their wisdom teeth, due to the potential risks of surgery seem to out weight the benefits.  However, most of these assessments are subjective to some degree.  Ultimately, the decision rest with the patient, but Dr. Woo will do his best to provide the professional guidance.  He would not hesitate to recommend another opinion from another oral surgeon for some difficult cases.

More Information 

Click HERE to the website of the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons to learn more  about wisdom teeth.