Moms & Dads

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Teens' wisdom teeth: Must they be removed?

It's become almost standard for my friends to have their kids' wisdom teeth removed before they go to college. The talk is that the teeth are inevitably going to cause problems and it's too hard to schedule the removal after they are away at

So I wasn't surprised when my dentist recommended the same thing at our most recent visit for my 17-year-old. But I was not so quick to schedule an appointment.

Why should they be removed now if they are not causing any problems? Although extraction has become routine, there is little evidence to support removal to prevent potential future problems. One study found that only 12 percent of people who kept their impacted wisdom teeth into their 40s developed gum or bone damage.

I am definitely biased: I still have my wisdom teeth. My teeth are very close together and food gets stuck in unflattering places. But why have risky surgery when all you might need to do in the long term is take better care of your teeth?

Photo: Mark Randall/Sun Sentinel

Categories: Lois Solomon (211)


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About the authors
Gretchen Day-Bryant has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. She’s lived to tell about the struggles of juggling little kids and work.
Joy Oglesby has a preschooler...
Cindy Kent Fort Lauderdale mother of three. Her kids span in ages from teenager to 20s.
Rafael Olmeda and his wife welcomed their first son in Feb. 2009, and he's helping raise two teenage stepdaughters.
Lois Solomonlives with her husband and three daughters.
Georgia East is the parent of a five-year-old girl, who came into the world weighing 1 pound, 13 ounces.
Brittany Wallman is the mother of Creed, 15, and Lily, 7, and is married to a journalist, Bob Norman. She covers Broward County government, which is filled with almost as much drama as the Norman household. Almost.
Chris Tiedje is the Social Media Coordinator and the father of a 7-year-old girl, and two boys ages 4 and 3.
Kyara Lomer Camarena has a 2-year-old son, Copelan, and a brand new baby.

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