Why Experts Now Say Not to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth

Why Experts Now Say Not to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth

Why Experts Now Say Not to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth

As part of their transition from adolescence to adulthood, many often go through the painful experience of wisdom tooth extraction. While once seen as standard dental care practice, more and more experts are now questioning this traditional wisdom regarding wisdom teeth removal.

Wisdom teeth (third molars) typically emerged in our late teens or early twenties and were once necessary for our ancestors consuming a raw diet rich in hard-to-chew foods; with cooking’s advent and our changing diets, however, wisdom molars became less essential; for this reason, dentists typically advised extraction to avoid potential problems like impaction, infection or crowding of other teeth – annually 10 million wisdom teeth were extracted in the United States alone!

But the tides are changing; more dental experts are no longer advocating for prophylactic removal of wisdom teeth due to new research and clinical observations that question its necessity and create uncertainty around its safety and potential risks. Instead, decisions regarding surgery have become more personalized to each case, with consideration given to individual oral health circumstances and potential risks.

20 reasons why you should not remove wisdom teeth

While the decision to remove or keep wisdom teeth should be individualized based on a person’s unique oral health circumstances, here are 20 potential reasons why one might opt not to remove their wisdom teeth:

  1. They’re healthy and properly positioned: If your wisdom teeth are healthy, erupted fully, and correctly aligned with the other teeth, there’s no immediate need for removal.
  2. No cavities or gum disease: If you can properly clean your wisdom teeth and keep them free from cavities and gum disease, an extraction might not be necessary.
  3. They’ve fully erupted: Fully erupted wisdom teeth can function like any other teeth and may not need removal.
  4. Sufficient jaw space: Removal may be unnecessary if your jaw has enough space to accommodate wisdom teeth without overcrowding the mouth.
  5. They’re not impacted: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause problems, but if yours aren’t impacted, you might not need to have them removed.
  6. No damage to nearby teeth: Extraction isn’t typically necessary if the wisdom teeth aren’t damaging nearby teeth.
  7. No pain or discomfort: As long as wisdom teeth aren’t causing discomfort or pain, removal’s usually unnecessary.
  8. They’re not causing bite problems: Removal might not be needed if your bite alignment is normal, even with wisdom teeth.
  9. Absence of cysts or tumors: Wisdom teeth that aren’t associated with cysts or tumors typically don’t need to be extracted.
  10. No infection or disease: If your wisdom teeth aren’t associated with any infections or diseases, they may not need removal.
  11. Avoiding surgical risks: Every surgical procedure comes with risks, such as infection, nerve damage, or complications from anesthesia. If extraction isn’t necessary, these risks can be avoided.
  12. Preventing dry socket: Dry socket, a painful condition, can occur after tooth extraction. Keeping your wisdom teeth avoids this risk.
  13. Maintaining natural tooth structure: Wisdom teeth contribute to the total chewing surface and maintain the natural structure of the jaw.
  14. Potential stem cell source: Wisdom teeth are a source of valuable stem cells that could be used for future medical treatments.
  15. Avoiding unnecessary dental procedures: If there’s no medical need, avoiding unnecessary dental procedures is generally a good idea.
  16. Cost-saving: Wisdom teeth removal can be costly, especially without insurance. If there’s no pressing need, keeping them can save you money.
  17. No interference with orthodontic treatment: If your wisdom teeth aren’t affecting any orthodontic treatment, they typically don’t need to be removed.
  18. No sinus issues: Wisdom teeth removal can sometimes lead to sinus issues. Keeping them avoids this potential complication.
  19. Preserving normal taste and sensation: Rarely, nerve damage from wisdom teeth extraction can affect taste and sensation. Keeping your wisdom teeth avoids this risk.
  20. Reduced recovery time: Not having your wisdom teeth extracted means you avoid the recovery time associated with the procedure.

Pros of Keeping Wisdom Teeth:

Natural Space Fillers: When there’s enough room in your mouth, and your wisdom teeth are healthy, they can act as natural space fillers, helping prevent the shifting of other teeth.

Research has demonstrated that wisdom teeth contain essential stem cells. These could be harvested and utilized in future regenerative treatments.

Avoid Surgery Risks: Any surgical procedure, including wisdom teeth extraction, comes with risks such as infection, nerve damage, or complications from anesthesia administration. These risks can be avoided by postponing this decision for another time or finding alternative ways of extracting them.

Cost-Effective: You can save on potentially expensive dental procedures by forgoing extraction.

Cons of Retaining Wisdom Teeth:

Overcrowding and Misalignment: Wisdom teeth may cause overcrowding in some individuals, resulting in the misalignment of other teeth. That becomes particularly problematic if there is not enough space in your jaw for them.

Risk of Infection: Wisdom teeth that partially emerge or are impacted can become breeding grounds for bacteria that lead to infections or gum diseases, increasing your chances of infection or gum disease.

Cysts or Tumors: Wisdom teeth that become impacted can sometimes lead to cysts or tumors forming in the jawbone, damaging both teeth and bone over time.

Damage to Adjacent Teeth: Wisdom teeth growing at an improper angle may push against second molars and damage or increase the risk of infection in adjacent teeth, potentially leading to damage and infection.

What Should Be Considered When Deciding To Extract Wisdom Teeth

Deciding on wisdom teeth extraction depends on several factors, but here are a few key ones to keep in mind:

1. Growth Pattern and Position: Your decision regarding wisdom teeth removal depends heavily upon their growth pattern and position in your mouth. If they’re becoming impacted, growing at an odd angle, or there is not enough room in your jaw for them, extraction could be the optimal choice.

2. Personal Oral Health: Personal oral health plays an integral part in this decision. Suppose you suffer from gum disease, cavities, or compromised immune systems. In that case, it might be wise to extract your wisdom teeth to avoid potential complications and save yourself the hassle.

3. Symptoms: When wisdom teeth cause discomfort, pain, swelling, repeated infections, or damage to adjacent teeth, it’s often an indicator that they should be extracted.

4. Age: Removing wisdom teeth may be easier in younger individuals due to unformed roots and bones. As you get older, recovery and risk become increasingly challenging.

5. Wisdom Teeth Long-term Health: If your dentist believes the wisdom teeth could cause issues in the future (even if they’re not currently causing issues), they may recommend removal.

6. Dentist Recommendation: For optimal advice, always consult a dental professional who can evaluate your situation, consider all relevant factors, and offer expert guidance regarding the optimal course of action.

Always consult your dentist when deciding on wisdom teeth extractions; make an individualized choice rather than following a “one-size-fits-all” method. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays can assist in making an educated choice about extraction.

What This Shift Means for Dentistry 

The shift from routine wisdom tooth extraction towards more personalized approaches could have profound ramifications for dentistry.

Change of Practice and Training: Dental professionals may need to adapt their skills and practices to properly assess each patient’s unique needs and risks, which may mean including more advanced diagnostic tools in their routine evaluations.

Increased Emphasis on Preventive Care: With changes to wisdom teeth management, more emphasis may be placed on preventive dental care and regular check-ups to monitor the health and development of wisdom teeth.

Enhance Patient Education: Dentists must spend more time explaining the pros and cons of wisdom tooth extraction to their patients. That should include detailing potential risks or benefits and offering personalized guidance based on each person’s circumstances.

Economic Implications: Wisdom tooth extraction is an increasingly lucrative procedure for oral surgeons, so any changes to regular wisdom tooth extractions could have serious financial repercussions for dental practices; however, any reduction could be offset with more excellent preventive care and complex case administration services provided to clients.

Ethical Considerations: This shift focuses on the ethical obligations of dental professionals to provide treatment based on individual patient needs instead of following routine practice. It emphasizes “no harm,” encouraging interventions only when necessary for patient health and well-being.


The conventional belief that wisdom teeth must be extracted is being reconsidered. While not every case requires extraction, each decision must be assessed on its own merits, with pros and cons carefully considered when making this determination. In addition, patients must have honest discussions with their dentist about the best path forward for them regarding cost-benefit analysis and timeline.