I am 24 years old and have been having some trouble with my wisdom teeth. I have 2 wisdom teeth on top and 1 on the bottom, with all 3 being impacted. I have already scheduled an appointment to have the 2 top teeth removed, but I am trying to decide if I should go ahead and have the bottom one removed as well. The roots of the bottom tooth are past the nerve, but my dentist told me that the risk of nerve damage was low. He also said my risk was a little higher because the roots are past the nerve and that I have 3 options.
Option 1 – Leave the tooth unless it starts to bother me.
Option 2 – Have it removed now.
Option 3 – Have the tooth part removed and leave the roots, hoping that it doesn’t get infected. If it were to become infected, they would have to go back in and remove the roots.
I wanted to wait on the bottom tooth, but I am feeling slight pressure in that area. Not sure if the pressure is from the pain from my top 2 teeth or from the bottom tooth. I’m also not a fan of having surgery twice. What is your opinion on my options, and what do you think my chances of infection are if I leave the roots? Thank you so much!
-Cassie from New York
The problem with wisdom teeth is that they get more difficult to remove as a person gets older. While a few dentists advise not taking out wisdom teeth unless they’re bothering you, those who have experience taking out many wisdom teeth understand the problem with that and advise strongly against that. Both the difficulty and risks of complications increase as a person ages. You are 24 now. Wait five years, and your risks will double. Wait five more, and they’ll double again. What happens is your bone gets more dense and less pliable, and the roots of the wisdom teeth can get more cementum deposited on them, making them thicker nearer the tip, which really complicates getting them out.
Also, when teeth are impacted, there is a strong likelihood that they will at some point give you trouble. Besides that, it is more practical to schedule their removal at your convenience. When they are infected, it becomes a dental emergency and, regardless of what else is going on in your life, you need to have them out right away. What if, for example, you happen to be pregnant when it gets infected? Do you want to have to be taking antibiotics, pain pills, and undergoing surgery then?
So we would advise you to have all three removed now before more problems arise.
Leaving the root is an option, but I would advise only leaving the very tip of the root, not the entire root. The body rarely has a problem if the piece of root is small. Also, many oral surgeons would suggest letting them make the decision while doing the surgery because it’s easier to make a more informed decision when they are in the middle of surgery. That, of course, would be up to you and your surgeon.
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