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Is It Wise To Have Wisdom Teeth Pulled?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - For years, conventional wisdom has suggested that wisdom teeth have to be removed.

However, some experts say that no one should have their wisdom teeth pulled.

KDKA-TV's Dr. Maria Simbra recently weighed the pros of cons of having your wisdom teeth removed.

For many, when wisdom teeth come, they must go.

"Being the last teeth in the mouth, the jaw's already formed, there's usually not enough room for the wisdom teeth to come in. And that's why they're generally impacted, or cause symptoms, such as pain, which requires them to be extracted," Dr. Joseph Cillo said.

Newer recommendations run counter to conventional wisdom.

"There's no cookbook formula, no algorhythm really to say you absolutely need to have your wisdom teeth out. It's really a decision between you and your primary dentist or your oral surgeon," Dr. Cillo said.

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons said you can keep some healthy wisdom teeth, as long as you get regular exams and x-rays to catch signs of trouble such as gum problems, cysts, and tumors.

"The vast majority of people, greater than 90 percent, have one or more wisdom teeth, which at some point in their life will cause symptoms," Dr. Cillo said.

If extraction is the decided course of action, Dr. Cillo prefers to take the wisdom teeth out sooner rather than later.

"This is the ideal time to take them out, when the roots are one-third formed," Dr. Cillo said. "One of the reasons we want to get them out early, is to help minimize any complications from surgery."

Of course, no procedure is risk free. It is surgery with the usual potential concerns.

If you decide to keep your wisdom teeth, you need to be diligent about brushing and flossing these back molars. And you need to get checkups every year to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.


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