Why Should Wisdom Teeth Be Extracted Early?

Joe had 4 of wisdom teeth (Fig.1 *) when he was 17-year-old.  Without much pain, he agreed to have them extracted (Fig.2).  In one to two years, the empty sockets heal without trace (Fig.3).  When we are young, everything heals quick, including bone.

When we are older than 25 years old, healing ability declines.  Although there is no pain associated with malpositioned wisdom tooth, it is difficult to clean.  Poor oral hygiene between the wisdom tooth (the third molar) and the 2nd molar causes bone loss (Fig.4 red arrow).  After the wisdom tooth is extracted, bone growth is limited (Fig.5 grey area).  The 2nd molar lacks bone support, tends to be loose (Fig.6 black arrow) and may be lost.

In all, remove wisdom teeth as early as possible if indicated.

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Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 12/25/2015, last revision 01/01/2016