This month Dr. Jacques Doueck interviews Dr. Saar Amrani

Why do so many people need to remove their wisdom teeth?

If you do not have enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth they can cause a multitude of problems, such as:

•  Infection– Without enough room for the wisdom tooth to come in, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and swallowing.

•  Damage to Adjacent Teeth– If it is difficult to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front of the wisdom tooth, the second molar, can be affected, resulting in gum disease (bone loss) or cavities and the need for a root canal.

•  Cysts– Cysts are fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jawbone which are associated with impacted wisdom teeth. They slowly expand, destroying adjacent jawbone and occasionally adjacent teeth. Although rare, certain tumors can be associated with impacted teeth. Both of these conditions can be very difficult to treat.

Do wisdom teeth cause
crowding of the front teeth?

NO. A twenty-year study showed that crowding occurs with or without the wisdom teeth. So this is not a reason to remove your wisdom teeth.

Should wisdom teeth
be removed routinely even
if there are no problems?

NO. Removal of wisdom teeth is a surgery – we don’t want to put our patients through surgery unless there is a high risk of damage by keeping them. X-rays and a visual exam
allow us to help patients with this important decision.

What is the best age to have your wisdom teeth removed?

Usually between 16 and 18 years of age. Without a doubt, younger patients (teenagers) heal faster, in a more predictable fashion, and with fewer complications than older patients.

What if I don’t have them removed now?

The problem with taking a “wait and see” approach is that if it becomes necessary to remove a wisdom tooth in your thirties or beyond, it is much more difficult for you as the patient, and the potential complications are much greater. If a wisdom tooth is completely horizontal, the chances of bone disease are so high that we can predict with pretty good probability that in 10 or 20 years that person will have gum and bone problems that will pose a risk to other teeth as well.

A wisdom tooth that comes only part way through the skin leaves a person open to high risk of decay and infection. A wisdom tooth is very difficult to clean even when it looks like it is in a good position. This is because it is far back against the upward curve of the jawbone. Sometimes you can’t even get a toothbrush back there.

The longer you wait, the more likely is the risk of complications. There is risk of infection, some risk of jaw fracture, cavities, and the need for a root canal on the adjacent teeth, gum disease, and more. Delaying wisdom tooth removal may result in many serious complications. You may end up with the really uncomfortable feeling of having your lip numb for a couple of years or even for the rest of your life. This is because of the risk of numbness that lingers on because a nerve could be damaged in pulling the tooth. When you refuse to remove your wisdom teeth because “nothing hurts” you need to consider all the risks.

Dr. Saar Amrani, MD DDS Oral Surgery

Dr. Amrani received his D.M.D. degree from the Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and his M.D. degree from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Presently, Dr. Amrani limits his private practice to full-scope Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, with heavy emphasis on dental implants and the associated hard & soft tissue grafting in his new state of the art office in Brooklyn.