Is wisdom tooth extraction worth it?

My dentist is a competent oral surgeon. I require very little in the way of his services, being very particular about preventive dental care. We have been keeping an eye on my wisdom teeth, none of which have emerged but are malpositioned according to X-rays.

I am 41, and my dental insurance coverage is great. He keeps mentioning that the older I get, the more difficult the ordeal will be in terms of extraction and recovery. Chances are that they might never trouble me, though. He reports that what little literature there is on the subject doesn’t really indicate whether one should leave them be or take them out, and as far as I’ve researched, that seems to be true. Over the years, the teeth have shown no changes.

So I’m down to “clinical experience.” His clinical experience says to take them out while the getting’s good. Much as I enjoy intravenous sedation and time off work, I am reluctant, and wondering if others’ clinical experiences differ.

I don’t know. I’m younger than you, & my wisdom teeth partially erupted over ten years ago. My lower ones are crooked & hard to clean, & that may have contributed to my gum problems.

In your case, well, I just don’t know.

It sounds like it couldn’t hurt. They could always become abcessed in the future. Its not that bad, especially if you have 1 or 2 done at a time.

My situation was different because my wisdom teeth were trying to come in, and I was continually getting sore throats and inflammation. Having them out eliminated that recurring problem completely. All those years thinking I was getting tonsillitis from my remaining tag of tonsil, and it was all the fault of the wisdom teeth. But if yours aren’t bothering you, I’d say leave them be.

I can’t tell the OP if he SHOULD have the procedure done- I’d merely tell him that, if he DOES, he should get it all out of the way at once.

I did it the hard way, getting one removed at age 25, two more at age 35, and the last one at age 38. The only benefit was that I spent less money each time. But since it’s pretty miserable each time, I don’t recommend doing it multiple times.

My mother had enough trouble when hers came out one or two at a time as they started causing trouble (and like astoria she found they got worse and worse each time) that my brother and I each had ours out at 18 when the dentist first mentioned it.

Various dentists have been telling me to have them out for 20 years now. IIRC, I have 3 - 1 never showed up. 1 is in and so far been useful. The other 2 are lying quietly under the gum, not causing any problems.

I really don’t see the issue of having them out until/unless they cause problems. My dentist 20 years ago told me I should have them out because they could ruin all the expensive orthodontist work I had done. Ten years later another dentist told me that theory has been disproven, but I should still get them out for some other reason. I figure I’ll just wait another ten years for that particular theory to get disproven as well.

I wish I had had mine done when the dentist recommended it, when I was in high school, the X-rays showed that they were crooked, and I was still under my parents’ insurance.

They started to really hurt when I was a young adult with no dental insurance, and I had to pay the full cost myself. There is no ignoring wisdom teeth once they start pressing on your other teeth.

I would be reluctant to have them removed if they’re not causing problems. Mine were funky. They all four were partially exposed and partially under the gums which allowed food to get caught under the gum line and infect the gums. You don’t want that, trust me.

I had them removed two at a time because that’s what I could afford at the time. The pain killers were great, though.

I’m 44. When I was a kid, I had braces and x-rays supposedly showed that all my wisdom teeth would not come in. I was told to have them out, but I didn’t because by that time I was pretty sick of dental work.

The two uppers did come in and are fine. One lower one is impacted and the fourth one never erupted. They’ve never caused me any trouble. I just make sure to keep the impacted one nice and clean. The only one any dentists have told me I should have out now is the impacted one. There are valid reasons for that. There aren’t any valid reasons for doing anything with the others.

Anyone with dental insurance sould have it done, before the insurance in gone. My wisdom teeth would cut through the gum and then the gum would grow back over them for 10 years. That was ten years when there was no chance of have them extracted because of the cost. Many people don’t have enough space in the back of the mouth for them either, and then it will cause problems closing the mouth and chewing. Get it done when you have insurance.

I thought that surgery performed by an oral surgeon would be covered under medical insurance, not dental insurance. With dental insurance I am always stuck with paying 20% of any dental work, whereas with medical surgery I have some kind of co-pay, like a flat $100.

I had my wisdom teeth removed years ago, but I don’t remember it costing me very much (20% of the procedure would have been a lot) so I am under the impression it was covered under my medical insurance.

I don’t have any advice; that’s a tough choice. Most people don’t submit to wisdom tooth extraction without the incentive of immediate pain and suffering. My choice was easy - either have them out or starve to death because I couldn’t chew.

You’re 41? I highly doubt your teeth are going to start moving around now… I’m no dentist though.

I had one of my upper wisdom teeth come in 3 years ago (i’m 48), after just lying under the gum for all that time. When I had it extracted, the oral surgeon said to leave the other one be, and he could pull it if it ever erupted. My lowers had come in in my early 20’s and were extracted at that time. I always figured, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. YMMV.

I realize that pain during extractions depends highly on the person, but I have to say that when I had a wisdom tooth yanked in my early 30s it was no big deal. The tooth was heavily decayed, and the dentist said, “I could fill it, but it’s a large cavity and you’d be living on borrowed time before it had to be yanked. Besides, it’s tough to brush and you don’t do much chewing there anyway.” Yank away, doc.

Now, the wisdom tooth opposing the extracted one is heavily decayed. Doesn’t hurt, but the dentist (different one) pointed out it was almost completely useless for chewing because it has no opposing tooth to chew with. Ya got time, he said, but you’re gonna wanna pull that bad boy.

One bit of bad news for the squeamish. When the first wisdom tooth was pulled, I was a little put off by the cracking sound the tooth made as it was pulled out of my jaw. Didn’t hurt, but it was…jarring.

Oh - one other thing to mention, too. Make sure you get really good x-rays before you make a decision. My current dentist told me just recently it was a good thing I’d never had my one unerupted wisdom tooth removed - because there’s a big old nerve running right by the root of it - too much risk of nerve damage. I’d never seen that on an x-ray of mine before. I don’t know if the tooth had shifted closer to the nerve over time, or if her x-ray equipment is just better than what my old dentist had ~20 years ago, but turns out I most likely (accidently) made the right decision about leaving it alone.

My first health insurance wouldn’t pay for the oral surgeon. That’s when they were coming in the gums grew over them again. The next insurance had like a $2000 deductable and the next $3000 you covered 40%. Thenext company after they were expossed for good didn’t pay for the oral surgeon unless the teeth had not emerge. The last insurance paid for the teeth removal if an oral surgeon was needed. I finally got some but not all removed, because the surgeon would only do what you could pay for and you had to deal with the insurance company, because he won’t accept the rates they offered him.

I got mine out about a year ago, at age 32. I only had three - none erupted, one never formed (I’ll appreciate it if never does.) I had them removed because they did start trying to erupt and moved my other teeth around, ruining my zillion-dollar orthodontic job. I could see my teeth shifting from day to day; it took less than a month for both sets of my front (upper and lower) to completely cross over one another. Plus, they hurt while cutting, and I broke a bridge from clamping and grinding down my teeth so hard at night.

My mother’s came in about a year or so before mine. She was 60, had them all cut out too.

So, they can suddenly grow in, even later in life and it’s not a fun experience. I didn’t mind so much having it done. A week off work and good painkillers made it all ok. My dentist suggested several years before that I have them removed when they first showed on X-rays in my late 20’s; I didn’t because I didn’t think it needed done and they wouldn’t move at my age. I wish I had gotten them out - could have spared the pain and the additional $$$$$$ I now I’ve dumped into Invisaligns and new bridgework.

FWIW, I had it done under General anesthesia. I simply can not imagine trying to do that while awake. Which leads to my other advice - when you get home, take the pain pill BEFORE falling back asleep and the novocaine wearing off while sleeping. You’ll wake up, er, extremely unhappy when you regain sensation without the benefit of Vicodin.

I’m 51, and I have all four wisdom teeth, one impacted. None of them has ever caused me any problems, and I intend on keeping them for the duration, despite several dentists who always ask, “what do you want to do about that wisdom tooth?”. If yours haven’t bothered you by age 41, I doubt they ever will. They just want your money.

I always thought pulling wisdome teeth was kind of “this is how we’ve always done it so this is how we’ll continue” but I understand from what other posters here have said that they can cause problems even later.

That said if they’re not bothering you I wouldn’t worry about it.