Ask about anyone 30 years old or more if they still have their wisdom teeth, and the near universal response will be they were gone by the time they reached mid-20s in age. For decades, Americans have routinely had their wisdom teeth extracted during late high school or college years. It’s just been considered “the right thing to do,” and has been encouraged by various groups such as the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Now, The Wall Street Journal reports this same group, AAOMS, has said every patient is unique and different, and no “one size fits all” policy should be in place regarding wisdom teeth and young Americans.

The removal of wisdom teeth is not a simple process, and, in fact, it is a type of surgery. In most cases, patients are placed under some form of anesthesia and wisdom teeth are removed by an oral surgeon trained in this area, in a specialty setting office or clinic designed to handle such surgeries.

In a new study published, the AAOMS has updated its 2011 statements on the removal of wisdom teeth, declaring that no one general policy should be applied to every patient. While the AAOMS cites a number of health factors for the continued removal of wisdom teeth for most people, it also make the counter argument urging regular monitoring of wisdom teeth in adults and dealing with any pain with other methods than surgical extraction.

This points to a trend in medicine – weather oral medicine or issues dealt with by other physicians – that the individual needs of patients should be determined before any blanket protocols or policies are automatically applied to everyone without question.

The surgical removal of wisdom teeth is something which must be treated as a serious subject; it is a permanent alteration of your body. In many other parts of medicine today, things which were considered “absolutes” have now been subjected to change and updating as new studies and new information has become available.

In our dental office, we constantly stay abreast of even the most minor changes in dentistry, to ensure we provide the best care. Don’t be afraid to discuss with us the importance of deciding what is best to do to your wisdom teeth or those of your children who have become young adults. We promise we will work with you to provide you only the best recommendations.

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