Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed Before College?
Yes, Teens Should Have Their Wisdom Teeth Removed Before College
There seems to be a lot of confusion and concern about why one would choose to remove wisdom teeth if they’re not causing acute pain or other issues.
Dr. Kur is in his tenth year of practice as a board-certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. I had a chance to chat with him to find out about the risks and benefits of the procedure and who should consider it, and here is his response…
Why is the third or final set of molars called wisdom teeth?
Because they usually grow when people are in their late teens or early twenties. In and of themselves, wisdom teeth are not a problem, but more often than not they are misaligned or cause other issues in the mouth.
Wisdom Tooth Removal has become a popular rite of passage for graduating high school students because many dentists and surgeons recommend removal of these teeth prior to, during, or just after college.
What Are The Indications For Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Indications for wisdom tooth removal include:
- Making Room In The Mouth | Crowding in the mouth (not allowing second molars to erupt properly)
- Stopping Pain
- Wisdom teeth growing in at an angle (or incorrectly positioned making second molars susceptible to bone loss because it’s hard to clean between the second and third molars)
- Cysts (these are benign but also contribute to bone loss in the second molars)
- Why is potential bone loss an issue and therefore an indication to remove wisdom teeth?
There are several different situations in which wisdom tooth extraction is the best option. When that’s the case, it’s time to act.
Sometimes there simply isn’t enough room in your mouth for your third molars, which are commonly called wisdom teeth. When there’s not enough room for the new teeth to emerge the way they want to, they’ll crowd your other teeth. The constant pushing from these new molars can move the teeth in front of them out of alignment, undoing years of orthodontic work or misaligning your bite.
Sometimes, too, the wisdom teeth get in the way of orthodontic devices, and removing the teeth is the only way to ensure that your other teeth can be properly aligned.
All that tooth movement, as subtle and slow as it is, can cause pain in your jaw, sinuses, and other teeth. Wisdom teeth can be especially problematic when they sit in your jaw at an angle. As the teeth try to emerge, they move sideways rather than upward and push against the roots of the adjacent teeth, a situation that is both painful and potentially damaging to the other teeth. If you don’t have them removed, the pain is likely to get worse, and you could be in for even bigger problems down the road.
Preventing Other Problems
Wisdom teeth that are impacted in your jaw or otherwise don’t emerge properly can cause all sorts of problems in your mouth. Teeth that emerge partially can create hard-to-clean pockets in your gum tissue or between teeth that provide great places for bacteria to grow, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and bone loss. In severe cases, an infection can result.
Many times a cyst will form in the jaw bone around an impacted wisdom tooth, and the cyst will cause a loss of bone in the area.
Sometimes the problems caused by wisdom teeth extend even beyond the mouth and the jaw itself. The upper wisdom teeth lie very close to the maxillary sinus, a cavity behind your nose and beneath your eye. Inflammation or infection of wisdom teeth can have an adverse effect on the sinus cavity, leading to sinus congestion, headaches, or infections.
According to the literature and the American Association of Maxillofacial Surgery, if a person 26 or younger has their wisdom teeth removed, the body will regenerate bone and it is much more likely that there will not be severe issues related to bone loss like a periodontal pocket, for example. Bone will actually regrow on the back of the second molars through age 26. A lot of times we see patients in their 30,s, 40’s and 50’s who still have their wisdom teeth with irreversible damage. The second molar becomes susceptible to loss, a much more serious problem. ~ Dr. Kur
Is the preventative removal of wisdom teeth elective surgery?
Dr. Kur reiterated that there are specific indications for wisdom tooth removal. Even if a patient is not currently in pain, it does not mean the surgery is elective. “It’s a necessary surgery for many people,” he said.
“The whole reason we encourage parents to have their kids’ wisdom teeth removed before age 26 is not just prophylactic. The evidence suggests that after the age of 26 the body’s ability to regenerate bone is diminished. Preventative is not the same as elective. In my professional opinion impacted wisdom teeth should be removed if indicated in 14 to 26-year-olds.”
Surgery is only indicated for specific situations, according to Dr. Kur. “For example, if a 43-year-old came into my office with impacted molars and they weren’t bothering him, we wouldn’t recommend removal; his body’s ability to regenerate bone if there was bone loss in his second molars would be minimal and the benefit of the procedure would not outweigh the risks. However,” he added, “this would not be the same recommendation we would make for a healthy 15 or 24-year-old because the benefits of removing the wisdom teeth would exceed the risks based on bone regeneration potential, among other things.”
What are the risks associated with wisdom tooth removal surgery?
Dr. Kur explained that there is a common misconception about the procedure.
“There’s a nerve that is housed in the mandible or lower jaw. That nerve provides sensation but no movement. So, one common misconception is that a person will have a droopy lip or a part of their face won’t be able to move. The numbness that persists for a short period of time can be an issue in a small number of people who are predisposed to this,” Dr. Kur said. “Sometimes we take a Cone Beam CT Scan to see where the nerve is in relation to the roots and therefore the nerve. We may also do a partial tooth removal so as not to potentially disturb the nerve. We always remind patients that this nerve does not supply motor function, just sensation, so the only nerve-related risk is related to sensation and not movement.”
Whereas there are risks to this and any surgical procedure, Dr. Kur also emphasized the risks of not removing wisdom teeth can be substantial and should be understood by the patient and his/her parent or guardian.
Can a patient have their wisdom teeth removed by a dentist?
How may this procedure differ from having it done by an oral maxillofacial surgeon?
According to Dr. Kur, a patient can have their wisdom teeth removed by a general dentist. However, Dr. Kur of Westchester Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is highly trained in anesthesiology. “We recommend that patients are IV-sedated for this procedure. It relieves patient anxiety and fear and makes the experience much more pleasurable for the patient. Although the patient is sedated, they are conscious and breathing on their own. Being sedated is also related to patients using less pain medication post-operatively. The majority of patients do choose IV sedation/anesthesia and are glad they did for both their comfort and safety, both of which are our priorities.”
What is done to make patients comfortable post-operatively and what is the recovery like after wisdom tooth removal?
In most cases, Dr. Kur uses dissolvable stitches and the recovery period is usually 3-5 days of post-operative swelling and soreness. “We are very cautious with pain medication these days and we usually recommend prescription-strength ibuprofen.” He added that most people return to work or school within two to three days.
From A Mom’s Experience & Perspective
Don’t wait until the last minute though! My son had his wisdom teeth out about a week or so before he left for college. He developed an infection (brushing teeth in those grimy dorm bathrooms?) and we had to arrange for the oral surgeon to send antibiotics twice to the school pharmacy after he admitted not taking the first round correctly. ~ Deb R.
The Risks Of Not Removing Wisdom Teeth Can Be Substantial. It’s Better To Be Proactive Than Reactive.
+ Contact Dr. Kur Today for Consultation
Or, Feel Free to Call Us @ 914-592-0440
One of the finest practices. The office staff is dedicated to customer service and the doctor is of the highest caliber skill. Dr. Kur utilizes state of the art equipment. The doctor has great communication skills as well as superior surgical skills. The recommendation to Dr. Kur came from an ENT physician who was also a dentist. He told me that “Dr. Kur was the oral surgeon of choice for him and his family.”
“Dear Dr Kur and all the staff,
I just wanted to say thank you for giving for my daughter the upmost care and made it an easy procedure for her. I greatly appreciate the kindness and gentleness that you and staff showed 🙂
Dr. Kur and his staff are beyond amazing. I am so grateful for all of the time and top-notch services he’s provided thus far. As this is an ongoing, emotional and complex treatment plan, I couldn’t have asked to be in better hands and am so excited for the final outcome. 100% recommend to anyone in need of surgical dental procedures.
Would highly recommend Dr. Kur for any kind of dental surgery. I had a tooth implant done and the process was seamless. Very modern equipment and efficient staff, which I also feel is very important. Dr. Kur is very confident of what he is doing and now I can confidently say that I would go by his recommendation for any procedure.
Great doctor. By far the best oral surgery experience I’ve had. I had all 4 wisdom teeth removed and didn’t even need painkillers.
Awesome practice, Dr. Kur, and the support staff are true professionals. It is so refreshing to be cared for in such a manner. Dr. Kur is extremely knowledgeable. He identified my problem and provided relief to an ongoing problem that I had been dealing with for almost two years. He is truly expert in his field. For the first time, I felt I got my money’s worth. Relief at last. I would recommend and will do so to anyone who needs an oral surgeon. FIVE STARS ARE NOT ENOUGH. Thank you, Dr. Kur and Staff.
I got two extractions and a post put in a couple months ago and it was so painless and the recovery was super fast and I didn’t need the pain meds at all! Even my regular dentist couldn’t believe I just got it done a week ago. Dr. Kur is fast friendly and to the point. I like that. He put me at ease on my concerns and even better he was right. Some say he’s a little pricey but he’s worth every penny. I believe in you get what you pay for and when I went to a cheaper place I ended up in a horror show and my recovery took forever. The place is clean. All the staff from the front desk to the back are friendly and professional and don’t make you feel like a number. Whoever you deal with there is great. Dr. Kur is awesome. If he runs for president I’m voting for him. If I wasn’t broke I’d mess up more of my teeth so he could fix them. Honestly, can’t say enough good things about him or his staff. Just go there, you won’t be sorry!!!!
I recommend Dr. Kur without reservation. Everyone on his team is highly professional and responsive. Every time I had a question or needed to make an appointment, my concerns were addressed immediately. Dr. Kur was very forthcoming about the procedure, leaving no questions or concerns unanswered. I never thought I would be describing dental surgery as a great experience.
I had an excellent experience with Dr. Kur, and all of his staff. Very friendly, very professional, and very clean facility! I was recommended by my dentist to have some of my wisdom teeth removed, and they made it a priority to make sure I felt welcomed and was comfortable with every step of the procedure. I had some back and forth issues with my insurance company regarding my initial appointment, and they went the extra mile to work around those issues and explore alternative solutions. The go-to place for dental surgery, especially for first timers!
I had all four of my teeth extracted by doctor G. He was amazing!! It was very easy and I am a very anxious patient; he and his staff made me feel at ease and comfortable. He called me to check up on me and was very kind. 10/10!!!! Thank you!!!
I had a tooth that imploded under the gum line. I had been told to just leave it alone by another dentist. I knew something was wrong, and my primary care physician referred me to Dr. Kur for a second opinion. Dr. Kur advised removal of the tooth and an implant. Everything was done in three appointments. I have had no problems. I completely trust Dr. Kur and would not hesitate to contact him in the future.
My husband had minor oral surgery about 2 months ago. There are no adequate words to describe our experience that was very positive. This office is the best Dr.s office we have been in our 63 years of life. The doctor was absolutely outstanding throughout the process. His office runs like a clock…just perfect. Every single person we dealt there was very professional and very efficient. We are very grateful for the outstanding service that we were provided with!
Dr. Kur is an amazing oral surgeon. He pulled one tooth and put in 2 implants. Mindful of my pain and my comfort, he reminded me of an artist enjoying his craft. As for his staff, nothing short of top notch. Professional and courteous. This is my oral surgeon forever!! As a matter of fact I am scheduled for more work in the near future. I would refer anyone who needs work done.
Dr. Kur removed all four of my daughters wisdom teeth. The entire process was stress free. Dr. Kur and his staff were wonderful.
Dr. Kur is a gentle, kind and thoughtful oral surgeon. I had 2 implants put in and he went the extra mile to prepare my mouth well for them, with a really good bone graft. And when he pulls a tooth, there is no pain in taking it out. I would highly recommend him to anyone.
When you’re not feeling well, (your tooth is throbbing in pain) and unexpectedly need surgery, this is the place to go to. From the caring office team, and staff, Dr.Kur’s expertise and care for his patients in insurmountable. Dr. Kur did everything possible and succeeded in saving my tooth from being extracted.
I had a very complex oral surgery performed by Dr. Kur. I was very anxious about having the work done, but quickly relieved after speaking with Dr. Kur and his staff. I could not be more pleased with Dr. Kur. He took the time to explain everything to me in detail before performing the many steps of my treatment. Along the way, he and his staff assisted me with all my questions and concerns. I am very happy with the outcome. Dr. Kur is extremely proficient and professional and I strongly recommend him as he is “the best of the best!”
Dr. Kur was nice, comforting, and made my extractions & implants as painless as possible. The office staff was equally as pleasant, making the paperwork as effortless as possible and were very welcoming. There is also a good payment plan available if you need it.
Dr. Kur and his staff are fantastic. Unfortunately, my son, age 6, had to have one of his molars removed. Not only did this procedure go extremely well, (and very quick) but there was no complaining of pain afterwards. I would highly recommend Dr. Kur to anyone looking for an Oral Surgeon. Great experience!
Dr. Kur is an amazing oral surgeon. I had implant surgery performed & I did not experience any discomfort at all. The surgery and healing process was painless. He made sure I was totally comfortable throughout the surgery. His staff was equally compassionate. Dr. Kur followed up with a phone call in the evening to make sure I was doing well. He is an excellent doctor and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is in need of oral surgery.
Dr. Kur and his staff made my experience truly wonderful. I was in such excruciating pain until I couldn’t function. They performed an emergency extraction on my wisdom tooth. I felt much better after my surgery. The office is clean and very comfortable. Obviously no one wants to have a tooth removed, however, if you need to have this procedure done, then I would definitely recommend this practice.
Dr. Kur extracted my 4 wisdom teeth, and also gave me four implants. Not once did I have any pain after both procedures. He did an amazing job! He and his staff were extremely friendly and very informative the entire time. If you need oral surgery this is the place to go.