Wisdom Teeth in Teens!

[deleted account] ( 66 moms have responded )

Did you know that you need to have your teens wisdom teeth removed before they are 18? I just had my 17yo son's wisdom teeth removed by a dentist that specializes in dentures and extractions. I did not have my wisdom teeth removed until after I was 19. The reason I even learned about this is one of my son's teeth was growing in sideways causing pain and impacted. Regular dentists often do not tell you the importance of having this procedure done while the teeth are still immature. Healing time is quicker and extractions are more easily done if the roots are not fully formed. Please - if you have teens or young teens and have a regular dentist talk to them about having the teeth removed before the teeth are fully matured. You will save your soon to be adult son or daughter from what can be painful teeth extractions if done between the ages of 16 and 18. Yes, it will cause them discomfort for a few days while the mouth heals but from my own experiences I wish mine had been done well before mine were removed due to infections. If you live in the San Antonio, Texas area - I recommend Dr.J at 210DENTURE. He's calm, reasonably priced, and good with young adults.

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Christine - posted on 01/30/2012

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Unfortunately only the first teen was put under. The 14 year old boy in this article was not put under. Neither was the 19 year old boy who also died from wisdom teeth surgery at the end of last year.

My whole point in this debate is that many women rely on Circle of Moms for sound advice. Heather made a general statement that all teenagers should have their wisdom teeth removed before age 18. I just want to make mothers who are reading this thread aware that following such advice blindly is not wise as wisdom tooth extraction carries some serious risks. It's not the simple little procedure everyone is trying to make it out to be.

Diana - posted on 01/30/2012

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Wisdom teeth only need to be removed if there is an issue with them. Don't have them removed just because they're there.

Jen - posted on 02/03/2012

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Hi! I am a Registered Dental Hygienist with 25 years experience.

Not all teens need to have their wisdom teeth removed.

If the teeth have adequate room they can erupt normally.

If there is a problem with space, impaction, then yes removing them before full root development will reduce the difficultly removing the teeth.

The only way to truly determine the root development is with an x-ray. Some teens could have full roots by 15 some not until 19. Gender is a variable too, girls tend to have earlier development than boys...

Always good to see a dental professional just to be sure!

All the best,

Jennifer Lebel, R.D.H.

Jodi - posted on 01/29/2012

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That's a load of crap. I didn't even GET my wisdom teeth until I was in my twenties. In fact, the average age for having the wisdom teeth come in is between 17 and 25. That's right, some people are 25 before they get them. So you tell me, how do THEY have them extracted before they are 18? Hmmm?

Christine - posted on 01/30/2012

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Actually, a recent study showed that too many wisdom teeth are being removed unnecessarily and it's causing TONS of complications, including some deaths in young people. I appreciate your advice, and it sounds like your son's was one of the needed extractions. Yet, you shouldn't be making general statements like this as you may be causing more harm than good...

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Bernadette - posted on 02/05/2012

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More and more people are born without wisdom teeth. It is either a sign of advanced evolution or we are de-evolving into fish.

Bernadette - posted on 02/05/2012

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My wisdom teeth were fully in when I was 15 years old. Didn't get them out till my 40's when they had cavities and I couldn't bother to get them filled. It was cheaper to just pull them.

Dawn - posted on 02/03/2012

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yes get them done when your a teenager,i did and my kids done as teens as well.my husband only had two done as a teen the other two in his thirty's about killed him.his jaw was messed up for quite some time!

Jodi - posted on 02/03/2012

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I can totally see the sense in having kids CHECKED and having them out if they are obviously going to cause a problem, but to say that ALL teens need to have them out before they are 18 is a ridiculous notion.

Merry - posted on 02/03/2012

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I'm 23 with no wisdome teeth as of yet *fingers crossed* they never come!

[deleted account]

So jen, its your expert advice to get your teens wisdom teeth checked to make sure they are not going to cause problems?

Stifler's - posted on 02/02/2012

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"i'm not posting to circle of moms again because someone disagreed with me".

Lisa - posted on 02/02/2012

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Heather, nobody here is being vindictive. We are just trying to make a point that you just can't make a blanket statement like you did that ALL TEENS MUST have their wisdom teeth out between the ages of 16 - 18! No professional dentist would say this either, because like I said, my brother is also a dental surgeon and would never tell a patient that. You need to be careful when making comments about other people's bodies and the right for them to make the best decision for themselves and their children.



The only reason that I joked about being married to Dr J is because we can't understand why you would make such a comment without being an expert on the issue. I'm glad that it worked out for your son but please don't think that everyone needs this surgery, because they don't. People look to this blog to find good, solid advice when they don't know what to do. Giving your opinion is much appreciated, but don't sensationalise an issue without researching it. Teens do not need to have this done. They do need to see a good dentist on a regular basis for the overall health of their mouth and bodies because bad oral hygiene affects more than your teeth.

Sherri - posted on 02/02/2012

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If my dentist instructs me it is better for my kids to have them removed, no questions asked I will be getting them removed.

[deleted account]

Wow. Some of you ladies are rather vindictive. I won't be posting to Circle of Moms again. I am not married to Dr.J -thank you very much. But based ON SEVERAL experiences shown here and my own, having your teen evaluated on the teeth is better than what most (OBVIOUSLY NOT ALL) people ought to have done. I know that I got infections because it was impossible to get the jaw and teeth clean that far back in my mouth. My son's tooth was still completely covered by gum and had an infection just starting in it, his other teeth were okay - he's healing quickly from the removal of all of them. Still, it's better now than having those teeth come in (with little to no room for them) and get removed with a bad experience.

Jane - posted on 02/02/2012

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Contrary to what some Dentists will tell you, my daughter had all 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed at age 15. She has never had a cavity. She is now 29 and found in spite of early removal, it did NOT stop her teeth from crowding and shifting. So braces may still be necessary. Invisalign are not a good option. Teeth often revert back to problems once you have stopped using them.

Lisa - posted on 02/01/2012

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Yes, but you'll still have that recovery time and there can always be complications from surgery as anyone who has gone through it can tell you. They wanted to take out my perfectly healthy teeth for no reason! You can also have MAJOR problems with any of your other teeth while deployed too, doesn't mean we should all be wearing dentures! Although Dr J at 1800DENTURE would be happy about that. :-)

Stifler's - posted on 02/01/2012

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I can understand the armed forces. If you're off on some assignment you don't want them erupting and needing them out when you're supposed to be doing work. They take a few weeks to heal properly.

Lisa - posted on 02/01/2012

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I think the original Heather who posted the first statement that every teen needs to have their wisdom teeth pulled out is actually married to Dr. J!!! Because most people are now taking better care of their teeth, dentists are looking to make more money when it is unnecessary! I am now 47 years old and have every one of my teeth, including the 4 wisdom teeth that came in when I was 16! I also have a very small face (even have to wear children's hats and helmets) but I still had room for all my teeth and they are perfectly straight (no braces), just like my older sister and older brother - who happens to be a dental surgeon.



One person said that they've never heard of anyone being told that wisdom teeth should come out just because they're there is also wrong. The Canadian Armed Forces has a policy to remove all wisdom teeth of their members "just in case there could be a problem".



My opinion is that everyone's face is different and your teeth do continue to move and shift around for your whole life so just because there may not appear to be enough room, as was my case, doesn't mean that there won't be room when the wisdom teeth do appear. I have also had many dentists try to convince me to get them removed because "they might be hard to brush", but my siblings and I don't even have fillings in them yet and my sister is over 50 now.



Having your wisdom teeth removed just because, is like saying you need a mastectomy or histerectomy because you could get breast or cervical cancer.



PLEASE DON'T HAVE YOUR CHILDREN GO THROUGH THIS UNLESS IT IS NECESSARY, just because "Dr J" says you should! I guess he needs the money to pay off all his student loans!

Kate CP - posted on 02/01/2012

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So...because your wisdom teeth were coming in so tilted your dentist pulled other teeth (healthy teeth) to make room but you're saying that he didn't actually need to because everything turned out just fine?



Did it ever occur to you that maybe everything turned out just fine BECAUSE he pulled the teeth?



I have NEVER heard of it being standard practice to pull perfectly healthy permanent teeth because the wisdom teeth MAY cause problems. I have heard of people having teeth pulled to relieve current crowding or wisdom tooth issues, but not just for the hell of it (standard practice).



And what did you think I meant when I originally said "don't go under the knife without good reason"? So if x-rays are so pointless, as you suggest, WHY do we even rely on them at all? I mean, those broken bones are probably just hairs on the developing paper, right? Seriously? They're a valuable medical tool that dentist and doctors need to diagnose and treat patients! Do they get read wrong sometimes? Yea, of course. But that doesn't mean we should just sweep them aside as pointless.

Aleks - posted on 02/01/2012

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lol.... thats probably kind of what my lower two would have looked like.. he he he he... except it is only one now...LMAO



As for your prior post, that is not what I understood you to say.

"And to say you can't know if they will be a problem before they come in is just goofy. Unless your dentist doesn't believe in x-rays then, yes, you can know if your wisdom teeth will need to be removed before they come in."

Is essentially what I am disagreeing with. X-rays say one thing... but a person may be totally unaffected. Actually, I have just had my x-rays done. I might just go and request to see them, but I would not be surprised that one of my lower wisdom teeth looks like one of the lower ones on the link you provided.

Kate CP - posted on 02/01/2012

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Isn't that what I said? Don't go under the knife without good reason = if it ain't broke, don't fix it.



Now, you're telling me that a person with an x-ray like this:



http://www.jwz.org/gruntle/wisdom-teeth....



DOESN'T need to have the lower wisdom teeth extracted? That we should just "wait and see"?

Aleks - posted on 02/01/2012

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Um... no he probably did not. I was 11 yo, not sure what if anything was present at the time to see in the x-ray. It was most likely "standard practice".



And just because there *may* be a problem does not mean there WILL be a problem. That is the whole thing.

I have recently changed dentists and the first thing he mentioned when he saw the tooth was...."We can take it out if you want us to, but if you are not worried then its ok we can leave it in for now". He has even freely written out a referral to get that extraction (should I choose to) done (since its going to be surgery, due to the nature of where it is). Infact he is probably surprised that it is still in there!

So where they wished to take out the 2nd lot of teeth to make room for the wisdom teeth, my parents refused (when they caught on what was going on), and somehow I happen to have wisdom teeth growing and being fine (where there was not room for them originally). So, no he was not right. He was working pre-emptively and on A LOT of ASSUMPTIONS.

That is why I say, if not an issue now, don't go around trying to cure it - as in: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Kate CP - posted on 02/01/2012

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"That is not a blanket truth. I have no room for one of my wisdom teeth!!! Seriously. Its struggling to poke out, and it has erupted through but only recently and only partially. The tooth does not bother me (except every few yrs I still get the growing pains for a few days from it). My other wisdom teeth came through because I had space made by extracting 2 perfectly good teeth in my tweens (because my parents failed to properly understand what was going on - we were new to the country and had less than basic english!) The 3rd wisdom tooth would have been the same as my last to poke through , struggling for space (if it wasn't for a bad cavity I had and had that tooth extracted which made the space for the said wisdom tooth). However, upon talking to the dentist regarding giving room for the wisdom tooth because of the extraction of the holey tooth he said "No, that is not how things will work". He was SOOO WRONG. I think some people MAY be bothered by no room for the teeth, others are not.



Infact, dentists CANNOT tell, x-rays or not, how things will pan out. They are human and don't know everything. They would like to feel like they know everything, and seem to talk like that to their patients, but that is just bravado (and false one, but they seem to believe in it themselves).

Never believe any medical professional when they start telling you: things go this way, that way and this way. They MAY turn out this way or that way, but not definitively. Sometimes they do, many times they don't. We all know cases and circumstances where doctors said someone won't walk or talk or do other things and yet they have. Same for teeth. "



Dude, you do realize you just confirmed what I said, right? Your doctor foresaw an issue with your wisdom teeth (probably by x-ray) and attempted to correct it by extracting other teeth. I'm not saying that x-rays are infallible or that doctors are always right. I'm saying that they can look at x-rays of your teeth, see a wisdom tooth growing in sideways, and say "Hrm, that one there may be a problem!"

Emma - posted on 02/01/2012

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Or you could just have your 7's removed which is even less hassle, and keep your wisdom teeth.

I had this done and was quick and only hurt for a day.

Aleks - posted on 02/01/2012

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@ Kate CP Capehart

"Those who are saying you shouldn't mess with them until they erupt...what if they CAN'T erupt? Mine couldn't. They would have had to go through two other molars just to surface. And to say you can't know if they will be a problem before they come in is just goofy. Unless your dentist doesn't believe in x-rays then, yes, you can know if your wisdom teeth will need to be removed before they come in.



Don't go under the knife without good reason. But if there is a good reason, don't hesitate. "



That is not a blanket truth. I have no room for one of my wisdom teeth!!! Seriously. Its struggling to poke out, and it has erupted through but only recently and only partially. The tooth does not bother me (except every few yrs I still get the growing pains for a few days from it). My other wisdom teeth came through because I had space made by extracting 2 perfectly good teeth in my tweens (because my parents failed to properly understand what was going on - we were new to the country and had less than basic english!) The 3rd wisdom tooth would have been the same as my last to poke through , struggling for space (if it wasn't for a bad cavity I had and had that tooth extracted which made the space for the said wisdom tooth). However, upon talking to the dentist regarding giving room for the wisdom tooth because of the extraction of the holey tooth he said "No, that is not how things will work". He was SOOO WRONG. I think some people MAY be bothered by no room for the teeth, others are not.



Infact, dentists CANNOT tell, x-rays or not, how things will pan out. They are human and don't know everything. They would like to feel like they know everything, and seem to talk like that to their patients, but that is just bravado (and false one, but they seem to believe in it themselves).

Never believe any medical professional when they start telling you: things go this way, that way and this way. They MAY turn out this way or that way, but not definitively. Sometimes they do, many times they don't. We all know cases and circumstances where doctors said someone won't walk or talk or do other things and yet they have. Same for teeth.

Kate CP - posted on 01/31/2012

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Jenni, how does wanting to pull a tooth equate with having issues with women?

Jenni - posted on 01/31/2012

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What a load of rubbish - If I was you I would change dentist immediately. Yes your son needed his out because of the pain and discomfort not because of he's age! Did you know your teeth still move in your mouth your whole life! Depending on your dentist's belief (training) and age, some are very hungry to pull teeth out for no reason and to give fillings for no reason other than they have issues with girls/women! Some say they like to remove them because you cannot brush them properly (could be your jaw opening and overcrowded) so they just rot. Others believe you should just leave them in - if they don't hurt why not!

My top wisdom teeth were completely thru without me knowing, my bottom ones on the other hand were compacted under my molars yet no pain had even occured. Because we rely so much on medical professionals to be telling us the truth and not their version of rubbing fingers together for money, we can only go by what they say or what your parents say. I believe my top wisdoms should have stayed because I had a tooth removed previously so I had the room and could brush at the back. Many people in their 80's could still be walking around with wisdom teeth.

I'm sorry your dentist failed to inform you of the whole story and only thought once your son is over 18 he most likely would not be seeing the dentist unless in pain. I couldn't wait til I was old enough to never go back to our family dentist as I always received a filling at every visit (my brothers didn't), as my brother became one (dentist) also lol and in a span of a year I had one filling then never again for 5yr+! Doesn't that make you wonder and I ate and brushed my teeth exactly the same!!

Bek - posted on 01/31/2012

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Wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Most dentists remove them because they are prone to cavities and infections. Unless they are a problem in the mouth, it's not necessary to remove them. It may be easier and recovery is better before they mature, but why remove a tooth if you don't have to. My 22 year old daughter still has hers and they have not been a bother. My son had his removed when he was 16 because they were impacted. If your child has good dental habits and can reach back far enough to brush and floss wisdom teeth, then I wouldn't have them pulled. Just my opinion.

Kate CP - posted on 01/31/2012

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Those who are saying you shouldn't mess with them until they erupt...what if they CAN'T erupt? Mine couldn't. They would have had to go through two other molars just to surface. And to say you can't know if they will be a problem before they come in is just goofy. Unless your dentist doesn't believe in x-rays then, yes, you can know if your wisdom teeth will need to be removed before they come in.



Don't go under the knife without good reason. But if there is a good reason, don't hesitate.

Roberta - posted on 01/31/2012

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Hi Heather:

My 3 sons are all in their 20's. Only one of them needed to have his out. My son Gary is supposed to be getting them out but we are strapped for cash at this time and they are not bothering him. They aren't coming in crooked the dentist just thinks they are going to be prone to cavities as they are so far back and he thinks they will not be as tall as the rest of his teeth which makes hitting them with brushing harder. My son Michael did not need them out, he had lots of room. So it still seems to be an individual thing. You advice is sound though, and it is the best thing to have them out when they are just coming through. All teens should ask their dentists about this.

Keri - posted on 01/31/2012

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I don't have personal experience with wisdom teeth since I never grew any. Not even a bud. Lucky me! (I tell people that I have evolved, or that I am not wise.) Depends on who I am talking to. LOL. (I am 35 years old)



My brother had 3 and had them removed due to braces and no room for them.

My husband has all of his and since he never had braces to begin with they didn't change his other teeth very much.



Moral of my story, you can't cookie cutter everyone. We are all different. I hope everything works out for your family.

User - posted on 01/31/2012

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This is actually false. Everyone matures at different ages and that includes their teeth. Mine were not ready until I was 20. Many college students have this done. It is important to do it prior to them making entrance and ruining other issues, some people have enough room for their wisdom teeth and it is not necessary at all. Only your own dentist should make this decision, there is not a general rule on this. Every mouth and circumstance is different. There are actually people who get two sets of these in.

Sherri - posted on 01/31/2012

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Trust me dentists know if they will cause problems to your other teeth long before they come in. If they are going to compromise all your other teeth as it would have with me. I had, had braces and it would have undo everything the braces did then, they need to come out before they even attempt to start to come in.



As my kids teeth are straight right now I will be asking the same for them so we don't end up needing to go the braces route for no reason. If it can easily be taken care of by removing their wisdom teeth, then I am all for it.



I am all for preventative care before it becomes a potential issue.

TealRose - posted on 01/31/2012

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I am 57 and have all of my teeth including my wisdoms! The only problem I had was the gum not opening enough for the teeth to come through properly - and in my 20's I had them cut and stitched - with no real pain or bother !!



Taking your wisdom teeth out in your young teen yrs is akin to circumcision! Totally useless, cosmetic and a money maker for your dentist! I would run a mile - calm, reasonably priced or not !!

Aleks - posted on 01/31/2012

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OMG!!!! What crap and nonsense!



Dentists must be loving most of you...... EASY MONEY! LOL



I am in my late 30s and have ALL OF MY WISDOM TEETH. One has just recently (last 1-3yrs) errupted through. Its been sitting there quietly waiting and bidding its time (little room for the poor fella...lol). The other three are in perfectly good shape (unfortunatelly I had 2 perfectly good teeth removed while a tween when I had my braces and one other molar removed due to really bad cavity in my late teens which gave room for the 3rd wisdom tooth).



I do not understand why people would be removing anything that is not causing problems??? Unless you like to throw money away...

Bernadette - posted on 01/31/2012

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some people's wisdom teeth never even come through at all. Some do, and cause them no problems at all. They only need to be taken out if they are causing problems. If this is the case then yes, I'm sure it would be better to do it before the roots fully develop. It would just be a matter of having your kid's teeth x-rayed and finding out if they are going to cause problems.

Stifler's - posted on 01/30/2012

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I have no idea why you'd want to be put under if they had okayed having them out in the chair.

Elfrieda - posted on 01/30/2012

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Nonsense. I've got all four of my wisdom teeth, the first one came in at age 12 and the last at age 24. I'm 30, and they're all still good. Never had braces, my teeth are reasonably straight.



My sister, on the other hand, needs to have hers taken out.



You can't say that wisdom teeth are "bad", it's just that sometimes they cause problems and sometimes they don't. Any dentist who tells you they must come out by a certain age no matter what is a crook.

Sherri - posted on 01/30/2012

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Exactly I would strongly take the advice from your dentist or oral surgeon as to what is the best option. If your dentist strongly recommends it, then you bet your bottom dollar my kids will be having it done.

Jade - posted on 01/30/2012

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I don't understand why anyone would want to have oral surgery themselves, much less put their children through it, unless it's absolutely necessary. If the wisdom teeth aren't causing any problems, they don't need to be removed. As for having it done before 18, most things I read said third molar eruption takes place during the late teens or early twenties (ages 18 to 24 years). I've had three of my four wisdom teeth removed. The fourth one is horizontally impacted, but it's not causing any problems.

Sherri - posted on 01/30/2012

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Well most kids don't need to be put under for it and actually you can decide usually if you want to or not. Obviously you are taking more of a risk if you opt to be put under, that will always carry risk.

Sherri - posted on 01/30/2012

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Yes I did. :) If you have had braces and wait till your wisdom teeth come in it will undo all the work the braces have done and they do move your teeth to come in. So if you have perfectly straight teeth now if you wait till your wisdom teeth come in a lot of times you won't after that.

Renee - posted on 01/30/2012

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I had four molars removed when I was getting my braces forty-one years ago, as my teeth were extremely crowded. My back molars were moved forward, so when my wisdom teeth came in eight years later, as a college student, there was plenty of room. My mom said I had the same symptoms as when I was teething as a baby--a low-grade fever and a sniffly nose. People would ask if I had a cold. I'd reply, "No, I'm teething." I've had no problems with them.

Sally - posted on 01/30/2012

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Some dentists claim it is easier to remove them before they erupt. If they are impacted, that is probably a good idea. However, if they are coming in straight and your mouth has room for them (like mine) they never have to be removed at all. I'm almost 40 and they are still only half as tall as my other molars and not bothering me at all.

Sandy - posted on 01/30/2012

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Not everyone has their wisdom teeth in their teen years. It's difficult to remove something that doesn't even exist. Raising an alarm to have teeth removed at a certain age can be as harmful as ignoring the need to remove the teeth.



As long as you take your child for regular dental visits and x-rays, which is even available in some welfare cases in America, the dentist should be able to tell you if the teeth need to be removed. You should always check the films yourself also. You can usually tell if there is a tooth mass behind the molars. The dentist will tell you if the wisdom teeth are going to be a problem. Beware of dentists who won't show you the x-rays, but require thousands of dollars (or other currency type) to remove the teeth.

Becky - posted on 01/30/2012

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I also didn't get my one until I was in my 20's and had it removed in my 30's. I really didn't even have to have it removed but my dentist kept bugging me about it (He has been my dentist nearly my whole life). It took me longer to numb up then it did to extract it. Healing was a breeze, I left his office to look at houses, I did take the next day off of work ":just in case". But met up with everyone to say goodbye to a co-worker and had mexican with then, not chips or anything hard but I think I had some enchiladas.

Sarah - posted on 01/30/2012

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Well, I'm 36 and I just met with a specialist who refuses to take mine out despite the fact that they are impacted and growing in sideways. They were there when I was a teenager and my parents were told I should have them out before they grew roots into my jaw and facial nerve. My parents didn't do it and now I will be stuck with them forever no matter how much pain they start causing because to take them out risks breaking my jaw in 2 places and having half my face go numb.



Make your own decisions but be sure you are listening to the advice of a dr you trust about it. Because before they erupt, they are there on the xrays. The drs can see them and they have a lot of data on what they should look like. If your child's look abnormal or are growing in sideways, I hope you will consider strongly taking them out before they grow roots into the jaw and nerves like mine did.

Jodi - posted on 01/30/2012

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Why would you cut open the gums and extract them if they aren't causing problems, that's just ridiculous. I know plenty of people who have wisdom teeth and never needed them removed (and given these people are middle aged now, then it's not likely, right?).



But hey, if your dentist recommended ALL of them be removed, not just the one causing the problems, well, he IS getting paid per tooth extraction, now, isn't he?

Stifler's - posted on 01/30/2012

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I got mine removed at 23.Not everyone's even need to be removed. They didnt even start coming up until I was 22.

Rachel - posted on 01/30/2012

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You don't!!! I have 4 kids, two of whom have wisdom teeth, my sisters have 4 adult children between them and none of them have had their wisdom teeth removed. I haven't had a wisdom tooth removed either (that said I only have the one, guess I'm just NOT that wise :) ) Impacted wisdom teeth need attention certainly but other than that. let them stay, having teeth removed affects the structure of your face.

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