Should wisdom teeth be removed?
Some people believe that wisdom teeth ought to be extracted, even if they are not causing pain. Cl A/Prof Andrew Tay, Senior Consultant at the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, National Dental Centre, explained that, in fact, not every wisdom tooth needs to be removed. A well erupted wisdom tooth in good position without decay or gum disease can be left as it is. Or a very deeply buried wisdom tooth that is seen on radiography to be free of pathology, can also be left alone. Prof Tay added that however, a partially exposed and impacted wisdom tooth is likely to become infected, or trap food and become decayed, sometimes causing decay also in the adjacent second molar. Leaving the wisdom tooth untreated can result in decay of both the wisdom tooth and the second molar, or cause gum disease with bone loss between the wisdom tooth and second molar. If an impacted wisdom tooth is likely to give trouble in life, it is usually advantageous to remove the wisdom tooth when the patient is younger (around 19-25 years of age). Prof Tay also shared the importance of following the doctor's instructions on care of the operation site after wisdom tooth surgery, taking medication on time, keeping to soft diet, avoiding strenuous activities and avoiding smoking, will help in recovery. Most patients should be able to experience reduction of pain, swelling and improvement in eating in about 5-7 days.
SOURCE: SHIN MIN DAILY, SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS LIMITED, REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION