If your wisdom teeth appear normal on an X-ray and are not causing pain, do you still need to have them removed?

Of course, if there’s pain, you shouldn’t put off extraction.

“Wisdom teeth or third molars which are lacking symptoms have long been an area of unclear guidelines,” says Brijesh Chandwani, DMD, BDS, Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain, with Connecticut & NY TMJ.

“There is no clear research showing any advantage of extraction of wisdom teeth (which don’t have any symptoms),” continues Dr. Chandwani.

“Additionally wisdom teeth extraction has been found to be a clear risk factor for developing TMJ disorders.

“Clinicians (oral surgeons, dentists) often use justification that it is easier to extract the wisdom teeth in younger age.

“While the bone is more flexible [in younger age], risk of complication such as nerve injury, fracture, secondary infection, TMJ disorder is quite real and not a rarity.

“A wisdom tooth should not be extracted because it is impacted; impacted teeth have not been related to causing crowding of teeth or gum disease.

“National Institute of Health (NIH) recommendations are removal of wisdom teeth if there is a frank pathology on X-ray or persistent pain.”

Dr. Chandwani has 10+ years of experience focusing on TMJ disorders and sleep disorders.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.