Unopposed wisdom teeth. Remove them?

I know a guy with upper wisdom teeth, but no lower ones in opposition to them. They are fully erupted, apparently healthy, straight, and have been so for a decade. His dentist recommends extraction, on the presumption that they will continue growing and eventually impinge on the lower jaw, causing pain, gum loss, chewing problems, cats & dogs playing together, and possibly a hole in the ozone layer. Also, the doc claims wisdom teeth are hard to clean and will eventually have tooth decay problems.

Now, I’m normally all for listening to people who went to medical school, but is the prognosis inevitably bad here? If it isn’t, why risk complications like the dreaded (and dreadful) dry socket or (even more awful) bone infection?

Disclaimer: Yes, this is the kind of stuff we talk about at lunch. No, this is not a solicitation for medical advice, especially since I’m not about to tell a coworker that I asked a bunch of anonymous people on the internet about his teeth.

I had that situation - my bottom wisdom teeth were out, and my upper ones were unopposed. I let them continue to grow out and down for awhile and the eventual extraction was quite easy. It really is hard to keep your teeth clean back there.

For the record, I had a dry socket with one of my wisdom teeth removals - it really isn’t something you want to happen.

Huh. My bottom wisdom teeth are unopposed. They’ve been that way for 20 years. They’re a bit impacted, but I don’t have any trouble flossing around them and they’ve never given me any trouble. The various dentists I’ve seen over the years have had mixed opinions about them.

Since the unopposed wisdom teeth are not serving any functional use, why not remove them?
They are not functional in that they cannot grind any food without the opposing molars.

Since the unopposed wisdom teeth are not causing any health problem (opinion seems to differ about this), why risk complications from a medical procedure?

I’ve got unopposed wisdom teeth up top, and I’m glad I kept them–when I lost an adjacent molar, Mr. Bitey scooched right over into its space over a couple of years, replacing it perfectly. It fit so well that my dentist was all “Bwaaaaaa?! Your chart says I pulled that tooth.”

Mr. Bitey, that’s what I call it. Because of the biting.

I have an impacted, unerupted wisdom tooth on the bottom right, and an unopposed wisdom tooth on the top right. Both have been there for nearly 40 years. Every time I go to the dentist, he says,“What do you want to do about that impacted wisdom tooth?” And I say, “When it gives me pain, I will have it removed.” I think there is far to much wisdom tooth-yanking than is really necessary. But maybe I am the exception.

Note that twice the dentist has said eventually… So wait until one of those does actually happen, and have them extracted then. If they aren’t causing problems now, there is no problem with just waiting. Maybe they will never cause any problems. Maybe your friend will die from some other cause before then. Maybe many things could happen. Just wait, and do nothing now. His dentist is aware of them, and will notice a problem as soon as it starts to happen, and you can deal with it then.

Another thing to consider is they could start causing pain or problems when you are on vacation or some other place you don’t want to interrupt.

If it does happen that the teeth start impacting their opposite, empty, gum, get the job done right away. The infection that comes from the repeated cutting of the gum isn’t fun.

For me, it was easy, with no complications after I broke down and did the deed.

I’d like to thank my upper set of wisdom teeth for finally closing the gap between my two front teeth.

Thanks, upper wisdom teeth.

I have three of my wisdom teeth. Both bottom ones came in partially, still there. My upper left one came in about fifteen years ago, as big as any molar can be. Five years after that, it cracked while I was brushing my teeth (!) and had to yanked out.

Strangely, the tooth on the upper right side has never come out. At all. Not even close. The dentist says it’s not impacted, it’s just up there, waiting, biding its time.

Personally, I’d like to get the bottom ones out. They’re only partially exposed, the gum line covers enough of them to create food traps that I really don’t enjoy having, and man, is flossing back that far a pain.

If they are not causing any problem why go through the trouble at this time, it is possible that they never will.


Some dental/medical research is using stem cells in wisdom teeth to grow other teeth that may have been removed one way or another. The article stated if you had your wisdom teeth removed you were basically SOL on this working for you if you need it and it becomes a viable treatment.

If there’s no problem leave them alone. If the tooth becomes a problem it will soon be evident and you can take care of it then. The idea of removing wisdom teeth that cause no issue is a way for the dentist to make money. If he persists, I’d find a new dentist. This one is out for money not your dental health.

None of my wisdom teeth have come in. My dentist was like “let’s remove them.” When I asked him why after 45 years on Earth , if they are not causing any issues should I remove them? He couldn’t give me any real answer but, “Well what if.” I told him "I’ll deal with the “if” when “if” comes up.

Teeth don’t grow constantly. So it’s not like it’s gonna keep growing and puncture the upper part of the mouth.

I had all mine removed before they even came in, but that was because my dentist looked at my Xrays and said “those are going to be trouble, you don’t have room, no way no how”. He recommended removing them before they came in to avoid impaction/infection/etc., and because getting them out before they root is much easier. He didn’t do the surgery, so it’s not like he was making any money off of the procedure.

If I had some that had already grown in and weren’t causing any problems, I’d leave 'em be until they did, if they did. I might pay more attention to symptoms, to get them out as soon as they started causing any problems, but that’s about it.

I don’t believe in yanking anything out of my body if it’s still healthy and may have some use. In my case, un upper wisdom tooth neatly slid over to fill a gap where a molar was extracted. And I do recommend a toothbrush that can reach all the way to the back of the wisdom tooth. Flossing is a bit tough but still doable.