Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Wisdom Teeth

I saw a dentist today for the first time in a few years. Aside from doing a more thorough cleaning (due to the "few years") part, I didn't need any work. But the dentist did strongly suggest that I have my wisdom teeth removed. With my current insurance, it would cost me about $100, which is certainly doable (especially since I would just use my HSA for it).

I told her I would look into it. The thing is, my wisdom teeth have all grown in - none are impacted or anything like that. They gave me trouble on and off for years, but they settled down 7 or 8 years ago and never give me any grief. I'm not sure why I should surgically remove perfectly healthy teeth from my mouth.

Her argument is that they are difficult to clean and thus may cause problems down the road, perhaps even affecting the adjacent teeth. And they will only become more difficult to remove as I become older (bones get firmer, surgery is more dangerous, etc.) But in my 34 years of life so far, I've had exactly one cavity, so I don't think my teeth are very decay-prone to begin with.

I did some research online, and from what I've read, the active question (that is, the dividing line) is whether impacted wisdom teeth that are not causing problems should be removed. This leads me to believe that settled opinion is not in favor of removing non-impacted teeth.

A dentist 10 years ago told me my wisdom teeth were fine and not to give into any baloney arguments about why they should come out. I have no reason, of course, to trust him over my current dentist. All the same, I think I am going to keep these perhaps-extraneous teeth.


rvman said...

You do have reason to believe the earlier dentist over the current one - his telling you not to get the wisdom teeth out is essentially a statement against interest.

Now, he could have been telling you want you wanted to hear in order to keep you as a client, but if so, I'd guess from the 'few years' part that didn't work.

Sally said...

LOL, good observation rvman.

Tam said...

Yes, that thought had occurred to me as well.