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 school.
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