30 March 2017
It’s an assumed dental rite of passage that you will need to have your wisdom teeth removed and that the associated pain, discomfort and bleeding is mandatory. In fact, it’s common for dentists to encourage patients to get their wisdom teeth taken out (in a time consuming, costly and painful surgical procedure) before they even start acting up in the first place.
Recent research shows that in Australia, our rate of wisdom teeth removal may be higher than necessary. Additionally, a significant proportion of these removals results in hospital admission due to complications arising from impacted wisdom teeth removal – a rate that is seven times higher than average and is on the rise.
This could be attributed to the fact that many dentists are removing asymptomatic wisdom teeth that don’t cause the patients any discomfort and show no signs of disease.
In fact, it is estimated that by stopping these unnecessary removals, Australians could collectively save over 500 million dollars a year – not to mention days taken off work and other indirect costs.
At Bay Street Dental, this is an approach that we adopt, as part of our greater preventative and holistic dentistry offering. While it may financially benefit us to perform more wisdom teeth removals, we know that this is not in the patient’s best interest.
We only recommend that you remove your wisdom teeth after completing a full evaluation, including x rays. This will allow us to see if your wisdom teeth are stuck or impacted and can damage your jaw, gums and mouth. It might also be necessary if your mouth is too small to accommodate them or if your teeth are growing at an angle. Other problems that will necessitate their removal include cysts in your jaw, sinus issues, cavities and poor alignment.
Even taking these factors into consideration, your age and facial shape will also impact your options.
Wisdom teeth removal is a routine procedure and a very safe one, but it is still a surgery. Preventative measures are always better than cure, which is why a careful monitoring and evaluation solution is always best.