Do wisdom teeth have to be removed?

June 20, 2017
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon talking with patient. Credit: Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre

Should you have a wisdom tooth removed if it is not causing you any pain? Oral and maxillofacial surgeon Hossein Ghaeminia of Radboud university medical center researched the risk of complications when removing these teeth. He summarized his conclusions in a pamphlet, which can be used to better evaluate the risks for each patient. On June 23, Ghaeminia will receive his PhD for his research into problem-free wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth that do not cause complaints are often removed to avoid future issues. However, in the event of removal, such as of the wound and nerve damage may arise. These complications lead to a reduced quality of life. Should you have a wisdom tooth removed or simply leave it be? OMF surgeon Hossein Ghaeminia shows us what to take into account for each individual.

To remove or not to remove?

Ghaeminia performed a systematic review of what has already been researched in this field. As it turned out, there was insufficient evidence to arrive at a conclusion. After conducting his own research, he determined that each patient must be considered individually. Ghaeminia: "On the one hand, surgical intervention is accompanied by a risk of complications, such as infection of the wound and damage to the sensory nerve of the lip and chin. On the other hand, leaving a problem-free wisdom tooth in place may eventually lead to more damage to the neighboring teeth."

Risk factors

One of the most frequent complications after removing wisdom teeth is infection. Ghaeminia examined which factors contribute to the risk of infection: "People who are 26 or older and women run a greater risk of infection, but smoking also appears to be a risk factor." He also looked into whether infection could be prevented by rinsing the cavity that once contained the tooth with tap water. That turned out to be true. "Compared with other options, such as antibiotics, rinsing with is a relatively cheap and simple way to prevent infection after removal of the tooth. Patients can also do this at home," says Ghaeminia.

Pamphlet

Ghaeminia compiled his conclusions into a pamphlet that can be used in clinical practice to improve patient care. It is a guide for both doctor and patient that should improve the process of deciding whether to remove a problem-free tooth. Furthermore, the pamphlet will serve to better inform patients of the individual risks. Ghaeminia: "A new division of patients with a high risk of nerve damage was made to help prevent ." The pamphlet consists of a decision tree with arguments for and against the removal of , for complications and methods for preventing infection.

Explore further: Treatment for rare complication of wisdom tooth removal

Related Stories

Treatment for rare complication of wisdom tooth removal

November 11, 2016
When a patient has their wisdom teeth extracted, surgeons provide information about what to expect post-operatively, as well as potential complications that may occur from the surgery. For most patients, following the guidelines ...

No evidence to support removing impacted wisdom teeth

June 15, 2012
Little evidence exists to support removing impacted wisdom teeth that are not causing pain and swelling, aren’t negatively affecting other teeth, and are disease-free, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library.

Video: Why do we have wisdom teeth?

December 2, 2015
Were wisdom teeth ever good for anything?

Childhood anesthesia may thwart the development of those often pesky third molars

March 24, 2014
Extracting a wisdom tooth is no small deal. The procedure involves anesthesia, surgery, lost time from work and—of course—an uncomfortable recovery.

Dental anesthesia may interrupt development of wisdom teeth in children

April 3, 2013
Researchers from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine have discovered a statistical association between the injection of local dental anesthesia given to children ages two to six and evidence of missing lower wisdom ...

Tiny tots in the dentist's chair among changes in pediatric dentistry

May 18, 2012
(HealthDay) -- If you've been to the dentist with your children recently, you may have noticed that things have changed since you were a kid.

Recommended for you

Painless dental lasers can render teeth cavity-resistant

November 21, 2017
Almost as soon as lasers were invented in the 1960s, curious dentists wondered if these powerful forms of light could be used on teeth, though those early lasers were much too crude for any useful dental work.

Nanodiamonds show promise for aiding recovery from root canal

October 23, 2017
People who undergo root canals may soon have a tiny but powerful ally that could prevent infection after treatment.

Research shows aspirin could repair tooth decay

September 8, 2017
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered that aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay resulting in a reduction in the need for fillings. Currently about 7 million fillings are provided by the NHS ...

New dental imaging method uses squid ink to fish for gum disease

September 7, 2017
Squid ink might be a great ingredient to make black pasta, but it could also one day make getting checked for gum disease at the dentist less tedious and even painless. By combining squid ink with light and ultrasound, a ...

A new dental restoration composite proves more durable than the conventional material

August 21, 2017
Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.

Small molecule inhibitor prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model

August 10, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have created a small molecule that prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model. The inhibitor blocks the function of a key virulence enzyme in an oral bacterium, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.