impacted wisdom teeth
someone asked me a good question about wisdom teeth otherwise known as the third molars or 17 year molars. hers are impacted and her dentist told her not to worry about them unless they touch the other teeth. she asked for my opinion and should she trust her dentist.
let me address the trust issue first. i have always felt that the relationship between a dentist and the patient should be based off of trust and respect. i can not tell anyone how to detemine whether they should trust someone or not. and i am usually a very trusting person. a lot of trust will depend on how you feel inside of your gut i guess, i know that is how it is for me. i do feel strongly that you must trust your health care provider becuase they are the expert that you are putting your health (and trust) in.
about wisdom teeth. my answer will only be my opinion and has to be somewhat limited because i do not have the x-rays or know the mouth involved at all, but here goes.
impacted wisdom teeth generally means that part, if not all, of the wisdom tooth is surrounded by bone. i was taught in dental school that if the patient is young, it is easier to remove impacted wisdom teeth than with older patients (over 30ish).
wisdom teeth (and if anyone can tell me where they got the nickname of wisdom teeth from please do) are not bad teeth that have to be removed. the issue that the dentist made to our lady questionaire is right on the money. if the teeth are impacted and there is no visible problems with the bone around the teeth then they do not have to be removed (unless there are other issues). when the impacted teeth touch the back of the molar (called the second molar) in front of them you can get a communication between the mouth down the backside of the second molar to the impacted wisdom tooth. this can be an avenue of gum disease starting in an area where you would have no way of cleaning and this can jepordize the health of the second molar.
you can also have the wisdom tooth impact the molar in front in such a way that it can contribute to a cavity on the side of the tooth where no one, including the dentist or hygeinist can get to it to clean it or restore it. this can place a healthy second molar at risk for hard to detect cavities that can lead to costly care to save it. ( i have seen this situation many times over the years) .
some of the situations i discussed above also deal with wisdom teeth that are partially erupted into the mouth as well.
there are times where the discussion of extracting wisdom teeth may be based off of value judgements, risks verses benefits and these are individual needs and feel free to talk to your dentist about this.
again, these are just my humble opinions.