I have a general philosophy on removal of wisdom teeth. Basically, do it if they have ever given the slightest trouble and you are under 25 and the risks seem minimal. Reasons for removal are varied:
Wsidom teeth are the hardest to clean and often decay early- filling them can be virtually impossible due to space and access. If they can’t be filled or cleaned, they will eventually decay to the point where they cause major pain and problems – this is not the best time to remove wisdom teeth. Bacteria impacts under the gum causing decay or nasty infections – this can be life threatening, but usually is just a pain. It also puts the adjacent teeth at risk – see the photo! The older you get, the harder the bone is and the more difficult to remove the teeth, and the worse result on healing. If you are likely to keep your wisdom teeth for life then that is fine – but I have had to remove wisdom teeth from a 90 year old and that is a serious risk. As you age you may be on medications or have health issues that complicate surgery. Some medications such as bisphosphonates for osteoporosis and bone diseases can be related to post surgery wounds that never heal and are acutely painful (see www.nundahdental.com or http://www.ada.org.au/newsroom/article,documentid,109063.aspx for more info. If your dentist suggests removal of wisdom teeth it is usually in your best interests in the long run.
What are the risks of wisdom teeth removal? – the nerve supplying sensation to the lower lip and tongue can be damaged resulting in permanent numbness of these areas. This risk is usually very small and your dentist can judge the risk better by looking at your X-ray -(usually an OPG X-ray). If the risks are great they may advise against removal – but if the tooth is decayed or infected you may have no choice – again, the earlier these teeth are removed, the less the risk of problems.
I am happy to supply more info if anyone is interested.