Although I just turned 60 yesterday, up until last week I still had all of my wisdom teeth. The fillings in the top two were broken. My dentist said it would actually be easier to remove the teeth than it would be to repair the fillings, so I went ahead and had them pulled. The procedure went extremely well, with no complications at all.
Now I am wondering if I should go ahead and have the lower two removed before they start causing problems. What do you think? My dentist says I should have an oral surgeon do the removal if I decide to go ahead with it, but I can’t get a good feel for whether she thinks I should do it or not.
Drew in New Brunswick, NJ
Your dentist may seem to be on the fence because there should be a reason to remove wisdom teeth beyond them just being wisdom teeth. If your upper extraction went very smoothly under the care of your general dentist, then it sounds like they were not impacted, but normally erupted. This is consistent with you still having them in your 60th year, as impacted wisdom teeth are best removed as early as possible or they can cause complications.
Even normally erupted wisdom teeth can cause trouble, though. As you discovered, it is often easier to remove them than it is to restore them. One consideration you should now think about is whether or not your remaining wisdom teeth could super-erupt and begin to cause problems with the alignment of your jaw. A misalignment of your jaw can cause headaches, and create problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that will later require TMJ treatment.
In your case, a wait and see approach may be appropriate. If your dentist determines that the lower wisdom teeth are super-erupting and causing alignment issues, or if you start to experience problems like headaches or other TMJ symptoms, it may be best to go ahead with the extraction at that time.
This blog produced courtesy of the office of Grosse Pointe Woods cosmetic dentist Dr. Hadgis.