Not Removing Wisdom Teeth?

Updated on March 29, 2015
T.L. asks from San Pedro, CA
16 answers

Would I be the only mother in this day and age to NOT have her child have their wisdom teeth removed?

My oldest son, about to turn 18, was due to have his wisdom teeth out last year, and then got two concussions playing soccer in two months and developed post-concussion syndrome.
It was a long recovery and the last thing I wanted to do was have him go under anesthesia with a brain injury.
We've had some EXTREMELY bad anesthesia experiences in our extended family, so I am already very wary of general anesthesia.

I have to admit I pretty much forgot about the wisdom teeth thing, and my son came to me this morning to look in his mouth because he thought they were coming in. Yup, bottom two are halfway in, top ones are coming.

I kind of feel like, okay, they are coming in, maybe we should just let them stay there unless he has pain. He has no pain. He wears a retainer religiously to keep his teeth straight after having braces. I would hope that would keep the wisdom teeth from ruining the work the braces did?
We aren't due for a dental cleaning for him until June, so I am wondering if I should just wait until then unless he starts having pain. Because I am pretty sure most modern dentists would think we are nuts for not having them removed.

I am just totally on the fence with this one. I had a horrible experience having my wisdom teeth out, and still have pain after all these years in the sinus area where the wisdom teeth should have been.
Makes me wonder if getting them out is not "normal" since God made us what way?

Appreciate input...

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answers from Columbus on

I kept mine until one had a large cavity. It depends if he has room for them. I did, but they can cause problems and move other teeth if there is not room. If he has plenty of room based on xrays and they won't move his other teeth then would be fine probably. If they have trouble coming in or you know there isn't room then they may need to come out.



answers from New York on

Why would you remove them if they are not causing issues. Also don't need anesthesia to remove them if it becomes necessary.

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answers from Reading on

My father is an oral surgeon and I worked with him for years. I'm no expert and that was a long time ago, but having 3rd molars removed is not necessary for everyone. Often there is not enough room for them to fully erupt and the partial eruption and impaction can lead to infection. An oral surgeon or even your regular DDS should be able to evaluate and determine how necessary it is. In my case, it was clear they would never erupt from the bone (complete boney impaction) and would eventually cause pain. My father removed them surgically under anesthesia at the hospital. When that is the foreseeable outcome, it is far easier to recover at 18 than at 50. That being said, a medical professional will take into consideration his experience with brain injury and with anesthesia. And to that end, it may also not be necessary to undergo general anesthesia. If his teeth are erupting, they may ultimately be able to be removed with local or even with sedation. Until you have an actual consultation, it's impossible to know.

And in terms of "God made us that way," sure. But God also created this thing called evolution where humans have gone from having large jaws with small cranial cavities to large craniums with small jaws - jaws that are becoming too small for the number of teeth we have. 3rd molars are considered, at this point, vestigial for most people.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have mine ..

Mine haven't caused any issues with my bite or teeth and are not painful so they left them :)

Hope that helps! Check with your dentist. I'm not into have work done that's unnecessary either.

Good luck :)

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answers from Boston on

As we humans evolved to the way we are now, our mouths also evolved ...and got smaller and therefore in many of us there is not enough room for wisdom teeth.

Now, with that said...If your son isn't having problems with them (altho I'd hate see all that work from braces get ruined too) or any pain (aside from possible teething pain), I'd leave well enough alone

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Not everyone has them out, and not everyone has all 4 out. It depends - and not just on pain. "Most modern dentists" absolutely don't think you're nuts - it depends on the teeth, entirely!

The retainer has nothing to do with the wisdom teeth, only the teeth that are already in. The question is, are the wisdom teeth coming through straight, and is there enough room in the mouth to accommodate them? If yes, leave them alone. If no, they will undo all that orthodontia your son went through. In fact, the braces he had could have changed the position of the existing teeth, and could make wisdom teeth extraction necessary.

Your dentist can (and should) refer you to an oral surgeon based on the X-rays. You can get a second opinion if you like - that's often a good idea.

The anesthesia one gets for wisdom teeth surgery is usually not what one gets for major body surgery. And there is not necessarily any correlation with a prior brain injury and post-concussion syndrome.

Any good oral surgeon and anesthesiologist will listen to you with prior bad experiences and what specific anesthesias caused the problems in your family. There are quite a few choices for oral surgery. I had concerns too, but my son did not have a general anesthetic for his wisdom teeth although he was ver gently "under" and not conscious of what was going on.

I don't think you have enough information now to make a decision. You don't know if the extractions (1, 2, 3 or 4) are recommended, what the time line would be, what the anesthesia choices are, or anything else. You need an open mind to investigate, and your son needs to learn enough about anesthesia so that, if he should need it in the future for anything else that's not optional, he can have enough info in his medical chart to properly alert the doctors to possible reactions so those can be avoided.

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answers from Norfolk on

If they are (and can) fully emerge and can be cleaned and there's room in his mouth and they are not pushing his other teeth around - then there is no reason to have them removed.

I had mine out at 16 along with 4 other permanent teeth because there was no room in my mouth for them.
They put me to sleep for that - I had no difficulty with the anesthesia.
My husband had his removed in his mid 20's because they were partially emerged and he couldn't keep them clean - they were starting to rot and letting THAT continue was going to be very bad for him.
They put him to sleep for that and he had no trouble with the anesthesia.

Your teeth are not your sons teeth - he gets some characteristics from his father.
Did your husband have his wisdom teeth out?
How are the teeth in the rest of your family?
Sometimes it's just better to deal with it and have them out before there's an infection to clear up.



answers from Boca Raton on

I just had mine out a few years ago, and I'm 45!

I don't agree with yanking them out at 18 as a matter of course. Then again I'm not a dentist or oral surgeon. :P



answers from Santa Barbara on

My daughter went through two phases of orthodontics so I was very afraid of movement of her perfect teeth. I consulted an oral surgeon (never, ever would I trust a general dentist for this) and she had a panoramic x-Ray taken. It gave us a great photo of what was happening with the teeth that had not erupted and the relation to the nerves. They were not growing in the right direction so we had them removed under general anesthesia. A portion of the procedure was billed through medical insurance because they were impacted, Delta paid a little but I paid cash for most of it. She healed great and still has her perfect teeth.



answers from Phoenix on

I am 36 and have 4 fully functional wisdom teeth. Anytime I've seen a new dentist, they're always shocked and impressed. As a kid, my dentist didn't think they would be big enough to cause any movement in my teeth, so we left them. I've had a little shift in my bottom teeth, but nothing major. I brush them well and they don't cause any problems.
This really is a question for your dentist. Why did he/she originally schedule the removal? What do the x-rays say about size, impaction, etc.?


answers from San Diego on

Not everyone needs their wisdom teeth out. Unless they are causing problems (ie impacted or causing pain) I would just leave them be. Dentists are too quick to take them out in case they cause issues later on.
I would especially wait considering your son's injuries. Once they come in they are actually easier to take out if there is a problem and can be taken out with just a local. That is how I had mine taken out.



answers from Wichita Falls on

Talk to your dentist. Not everyone needs them removed, but the dentist should be the one to determine that. Even if they are not causing pain yet, it doesn't mean that they are fully developed and healthy or that they are placed in such a way that they won't cause problems later in life.

If you think that your dentist is just pulling them because they are there, then get a second opinion.

P.S. all I had when I had mine out, was Novocaine



answers from Philadelphia on

My husband has all 4 of his wisdom teeth.

My daughter's however will have to get theirs removed however. There is not room for them to come in and the orthodontist and dentist told us it would ruin their orthodontics work.

Since your son's are coming in perhaps he has room. All of mine were impacted and the ortho told us it was unlikely my girls would properly come up because there is not room.

Since your sons' shave erupted and are not under the bone (impacted) I am wondering if he could just have laughing gas to remove them and skip having general anesthesia.



answers from Chicago on

my son didn't have his out...not suggesting that be your choice but he didn't at age eighteen and says he is fine...Oh and he is twenty four and has been to a dentist since who didn't say anything about his wisdom teeth but was amazed he had no cavities



answers from unknown city on

I have 3 of mine left and have no issue, there was enough room. I had one removed because it was digging into the buckle nerve of my cheek and hurting me. I didn't feel anesthesia was needed as it was fully erupted through my gum so I had it out with just a couple shots of novacaine. No big deal and only took 10 min.



answers from Louisville on

I've never known anyone to get their wisdom teeth pulled just because they were coming in, only if they were causing issues. Lol. All of my siblings and I still have ours, and my husband got his pulled at 25 when they started bugging him.

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