Early Extraction of Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth may begin to come out as early as 15-16 years of age.  It appears that at this time surgery is the easiest without much complications. 

Ms. Chen is 16 years old and is having braces (Fig.1).  Four wisdom teeth are planned to be extracted (#1,16,17,32).  Surgery goes on smoothly without removing bone or cutting the teeth (Fig.2).  She recovers after surgery very well.  Why is the surgery so easy?

Let us concentrate on studying the roots of an upper wisdom tooth (Fig.3: #16).  There are three of them.  The root tips (1,2,3) are short, and blunt.  These roots are immature.  When the roots become mature, the root tips become longer and pointed in the end (as shown white line in Fig.4).  Due to limited space for wisdom teeth, the elongated root tip may bend as well.

Fig.5 shows an upper wisdom tooth from a 23-year-old lady.  The three roots are long and curved.  All of them have crack lines (>) around bending areas. The extraction is extremely difficult with multiple cracking sounds.  Hearing the cracking sounds during surgery almost drives the doctor nuts.  Fortunately, the cracked root tips are still attached to the root stumps when the tooth is out.  If any of them broke off, retrieval would be time-consuming and traumatic.  The length of the root increases each day.  Why not take out wisdom teeth as early as possible?

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 06/19/2012, last revision 06/20/2012