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 patients, especially when impacted (covered by bone and gum). Problems with wisdom teeth can start as early as the mid-teen years, and Dr. Woo, as well as many other oral surgeons in the field, believes that removing wisdom teeth should ideally be done around age 17.
Asymptomatic Wisdom Teeth-These are wisdom teeth that do not cause pain, infection, damage to other teeth or do not show other pathologies such as having a cyst growing from the wisdom tooth. However, the fact that a wisdom tooth is impacted qualifies it as a pathology, and many patients who initially have asymptomatic wisdom teeth eventually end up with pain, infection, damage to surrounding teeth, or other problems. Unfortunately, often times the damages are already done by this time. Older patients also face higher risks during surgery and complications during the healing process.
Some insurance companies do not cover surgery for these wisdom teeth, and some hypothetical studies by non-clinicians argue that it is not "cost-effective" to remove asymptomatic wisdom teeth. However, consulting with one or more oral surgeons about the removal of asymptomatic wisdom teeth is recommended to prevent any further issues that may occur in the future. Ultimately, the decision rests with you, the patient, but Dr. Woo will do his best to provide his professional guidance, and would not hesitate to recommend another opinion from another oral surgeon for certain cases as needed.
Click the button below to be directed to the website of the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) for more information on wisdom teeth and their removal.
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