Author Topic: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?  (Read 1844 times)

Hula Hoop

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Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« on: June 17, 2019, 03:05:59 PM »
I have 4 impacted, partly erupted wisdom teeth and just had one taken out as, apparently, it was causing decay in the adjacent tooth.  The oral surgeon seems to want me to take all 4 out as they are impacted even though they aren't causing any pain or other issues.  I just read this: https://www.sciencealert.com/no-you-probably-don-t-need-to-get-your-wisdom-teeth-removed-ever and kind of wondered whether this is really necessary or a way to make money.  Any opinions?



Aggie1999

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2019, 03:17:27 PM »
If the remaining wisdom teeth are pretty straight, not pushing on the adjacent teeth and there is no cavity then I see no reason to remove them. I have had 3 of my wisdom teeth removed, one at a time over the years because they developed a cavites. They ranged from pretty much exposed to just barely exposed. I have one left that is not exposed. Each of mine removed was a simple "pull the tooth" sort of job. Basically 5 minutes of work each.

IMO, dentists are one of the worst doctors to get patients to do unnecessary work. Of course, I am not a dentist, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 03:19:30 PM by Aggie1999 »

CNM

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2019, 03:22:46 PM »
My sister has fully erupted wisdom teeth and it's no problem for her. She just, uh, uses them like regular teeth and she makes sure to brush them well, floss, etc.

I decided to get my fully impacted ones removed as I've had so much orthodontic work done to get my teeth straight, I didn't want to mess it up. 

For partially erupted-- is there a heightened risk of infection?

Rob_bob

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2019, 03:53:12 PM »
I had a couple of impacted wisdom teeth.  I only had them removed when they caused a problem.  I think the last of 4 was pulled in my 50's.  A normal dentist did them all, the root of one had to be left in, broke off, no problems.

Cranky

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2019, 03:58:37 PM »
My two impacted wisdom teeth were pushing on my other teeth so I had them out when I was 16, which was a really, really long time ago. The other two are like mini teeth and have been no trouble.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2019, 04:23:34 PM »
All four of my wisdom teeth are through properly, with no issues. It would be silly for me to have them removed just because.... If they're a problem, remove them. Otherwise, don't.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2019, 04:31:46 PM »
My wisdom teeth are partly erupted and impacted (basically sideways in the x-rays).  They don't cause any pain or other issues apart from the tooth decay that prompted me to have the one wisdom tooth removed recently.  If they had come in straight then I don't think anyone would be suggesting that I have them removed. 

Malkynn

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 04:51:09 PM »
It's literally your dentist's job to very clearly explain the pros and cons of removing your wisdom teeth.

If you don't feel fully informed, then they didn't do their job properly. If you don't trust your surgeon, don't let them perform surgery on you. Find someone you trust, ask questions, get information from someone with a doctorate in the matter who is looking at your particular case, not strangers on the internet. I guarantee you that no one here can tell you if you need your wisdom teeth out, even if they are a dentist.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2019, 05:14:18 PM »
Malkynn - the problem is that I don't necessarily trust dentists not to try to upsell me unnecessary procedures.  The explanation seems to be "you might get tooth decay or another problem later on" which seems like a weird reason to remove a tooth and makes me suspicious. 

I was wondering if others have been told the same thing and how they reacted.

Malkynn

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2019, 05:17:47 PM »
Malkynn - the problem is that I don't necessarily trust dentists not to try to upsell me unnecessary procedures.  The explanation seems to be "you might get tooth decay or another problem later on" which seems like a weird reason to remove a tooth and makes me suspicious. 

I was wondering if others have been told the same thing and how they reacted.

Then you need to find a dentist that you can trust.
It sucks that you have had dentists you don't trust.

There are very very legitimate reasons to remove wisdom teeth, and very legitimate reasons to not remove them. My point is that no matter what the experiences of others, you will never get a satisfactory answer until you find a dental professional that you trust because this is one of those truly individual things. It really does completely depend on your particular case.

use2betrix

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2019, 05:35:33 PM »
I honestly donít trust most dentists I havenít had a long term relationship with. We move a lot, so thatís pretty rare. I had one dentist tell me I had a couple cavities like 9 years ago. I had never had cavities and didnít really believe them. I never had them fixed, have been to other dentists over a dozen times since then, and not a single one of them has mentioned a cavity..

My cousin had similar happen. One dentist told him he had like 6 cavities, went for another opinion and they found 1 or 2...

My wife just had all 4 of her impacted wisdom teeth out. They were causing her pain and coming through some. It cost about $1500 and while painful, it was a very positive experience from consultation through the procedure. I was very pleased with that oral surgeon and every step that went along with it.

If my wisdom teeth werenít causing my others to become crooked, and werenít causing pain, Iíd see no real reason to have them removed..

a-scho

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2019, 11:16:21 PM »
I had braces put on when I was 11 years old and then taken back off at 12. My dentist would show me ex-rays of my teeth showing the wisdom teeth under the gum surface, heading towards the molars at an angle. He kept an eye on the wisdom teeth until they got so close to the molars that they would push the teeth out of alignment(and ruin all the improvement the braces had done) once they touched. So, that 'almost impact' happened at 15 and I got them taken out.

tldr: have the dentist show you the ex-rays of the wisdom teeth direction, whether pulling them out is really necessary.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2019, 02:26:00 AM »
The wisdom teeth are all impacted (sideways and partly erupted) in the X-rays.  However, I'm not a dentist so when he tells me that the position of the teeth means I have to get them out it's hard to know whether to trust this or not.  My teeth have been like this for 25 years and only now (according to my dentist) are causing problems because I'm getting caries in the adjacent teeth.  I've had various dentists over those 25 years tell me to get them out and a few others say to just wait and see.

Maybe I'll go to another dentist for a second opinion. 

MoolahLula

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2019, 04:32:17 AM »
It was a necessity to have all my wisdom teeth removed, for sure.  Lots of pain.  If you donít like what the dentist is telling you, maybe try a second opinion with another dentist.

Case

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2019, 05:30:10 AM »
I have 4 impacted, partly erupted wisdom teeth and just had one taken out as, apparently, it was causing decay in the adjacent tooth.  The oral surgeon seems to want me to take all 4 out as they are impacted even though they aren't causing any pain or other issues.  I just read this: https://www.sciencealert.com/no-you-probably-don-t-need-to-get-your-wisdom-teeth-removed-ever and kind of wondered whether this is really necessary or a way to make money.  Any opinions?

You should be very leery of any Ďscienceí you read in the news.

Go talk to a dentist, and if unsatisfied, get a second opinion.  If you donít trust dentists, talk to oral surgeons and doctors.

I have never heard of wisdom teeth being an unnecessary removal, but i suppoae there are exceptions for everything.  I do know that my own wisdom teeth messed up my perfect smile just a bit (teeth too crowded).

Malkynn

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2019, 05:44:04 AM »
I have 4 impacted, partly erupted wisdom teeth and just had one taken out as, apparently, it was causing decay in the adjacent tooth.  The oral surgeon seems to want me to take all 4 out as they are impacted even though they aren't causing any pain or other issues.  I just read this: https://www.sciencealert.com/no-you-probably-don-t-need-to-get-your-wisdom-teeth-removed-ever and kind of wondered whether this is really necessary or a way to make money.  Any opinions?

You should be very leery of any Ďscienceí you read in the news.

Go talk to a dentist, and if unsatisfied, get a second opinion.  If you donít trust dentists, talk to oral surgeons and doctors.

I have never heard of wisdom teeth being an unnecessary removal, but i suppoae there are exceptions for everything.  I do know that my own wisdom teeth messed up my perfect smile just a bit (teeth too crowded).

That's also an article from Australia questioning the routine removal of wisdom teeth (as in, they're removed regardless of whether or not there is a need to remove them).

Routine removal of anything should absolutely be questioned, but that article also very clearly supports removing them when there's an indication to.

mountain mustache

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2019, 07:34:36 AM »
First of course is finding a dentist you trust, like other posters have said. Once you have a good relationship with a dentist and feel like their recommendations are solid, I would just go with what they suggest. I had a really terrible experience with a wisdom tooth that my dentist (who I now really trust) suggested I get removed, but I decided to wait longer. My tooth broke through the gum surface, but just barely so I didn't even realize it was happening until it got infected, and suddenly was causing excruciating pain. Because of the way that it broke through, the removal was pretty terrible, and I was in severe pain afterwards for 3-4 weeks. Next time I get x-rays, if he suggests its time for any of the others, you can bet I'll be in his office asap to prevent a repeat of my previous experience.

x02947

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2019, 08:46:08 AM »
I would suggest getting a second opinion, but be up front with the second dentist and tell them ďMy primary dentist recommended some surgery and I just want a second opinion.  Iím not planning on actually getting any work done here.  I just want (and will pay for) the exam and recommendation.Ē  That will hopefully negate any up-selling on their part.  Donít tell them what the recommendation is.  Once you get the recommendation, go over the differences with both dentists and ask them to explain why. 

As others have mentioned, itís your dentistís (and all medical professionalís, really) job to clearly explain the pros and cons of all things.  If they expect me to take their word on things simply because they say so, or they obfuscate and canít explain it to a laypersonís level, treat them like you would a financial advisor who does the same thing.   

mrs sideways

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2019, 11:05:34 AM »
Do you know anyone who knows a dental hygienist? Seriously, ask friends and friends of friends. In my area, hygienists move from dentist to dentist to fill their schedule, and they get a pretty good sense of which dentists are honest and which ones push unnecessary work. (That's how we found our current one, an awesome Aussie lady who's very much a "let's keep an eye on this and we'll do something only if it gets worse" professional.)

If that doesn't work, are there any dental schools you can visit in your area? I remember an old Reader's Digest investigative article where a guy (who had some minor problems and gold plated insurance) was only given the correct diagnosis/recommendations a third of the time. But one place where they got it right? Dental school, where they get rewarded for making the best call, not for getting your money.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2019, 01:21:09 PM »
I would suggest getting a second opinion, but be up front with the second dentist and tell them ďMy primary dentist recommended some surgery and I just want a second opinion.  Iím not planning on actually getting any work done here.  I just want (and will pay for) the exam and recommendation.Ē  That will hopefully negate any up-selling on their part.  Donít tell them what the recommendation is.  Once you get the recommendation, go over the differences with both dentists and ask them to explain why. 

As others have mentioned, itís your dentistís (and all medical professionalís, really) job to clearly explain the pros and cons of all things.  If they expect me to take their word on things simply because they say so, or they obfuscate and canít explain it to a laypersonís level, treat them like you would a financial advisor who does the same thing.

That's a really good idea. I think I'll do that.

Unfortunately, I don't know any dental hygienists.  I'm actually not sure if they exist here as the dentist usually cleans my teeth. 

JoJo

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2019, 02:06:38 PM »
Why didn't they just take them out at the same time, I would think that's way more cost effective.

Enigma

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2019, 02:16:07 PM »
Why didn't they just take them out at the same time, I would think that's way more cost effective.
I have learned that dentists sometimes like to push things out.  Well you have 4 cavities.  We will fix 2 today and you can come back in 3-4 days and we will fix the other two.  After that we will schedule a cleaning a couple of days after that.  They make more money with 4 visits than they would with 1.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2019, 02:18:55 PM »
Why didn't they just take them out at the same time, I would think that's way more cost effective.

They seem to only do two at a time here.  I think it might be to do with the fact that they don't use general anesthetic here for wisdom tooth removal and the only pain killers you get are ibuprofen.

Malkynn

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2019, 02:29:10 PM »
Why didn't they just take them out at the same time, I would think that's way more cost effective.
I have learned that dentists sometimes like to push things out.  Well you have 4 cavities.  We will fix 2 today and you can come back in 3-4 days and we will fix the other two.  After that we will schedule a cleaning a couple of days after that.  They make more money with 4 visits than they would with 1.

Not sure where you are, but AFAIK, dentists in the US get paid by procedure, so it's actually more profitable to get everything done in one visit because it takes less time.

The breaking up of appointments usually has to do with patients not tolerating long appointments or being frozen in multiple spots. Or even the schedule not having long openings available.

civil4life

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2019, 04:14:59 PM »
I had a great dentist growing up.  I do not even remember, but I think it was my orthodontist that recommended my wisdom teeth removal.  I only had 2 and both were impacted.  If you do watch out for dry sockets.  Very very painful.

My orthodontist also referred me for oral surgery because my upper incisors were impacted in the roof of my mouth.  I could actually feel them through the gums.

I moved 10 years ago and have seen 3 dentists.  The first was a chain and I really just went for a cleaning.  The next was an old guy that had not updated his place and probably most of his equipment since 1980s????  I loved him because he would always ask me if I wanted x-rays.  I asked do I need them.  He said they are recommended by set standards, but you have no signs of issues and I already had my wisdom teeth out so its not like they will show anything new.  Additionally, I had a cavity for a few years that he just watched.  Once it started to grow he finally recommended the filling.  Definitely trusted the guy.  Unfortunately his office was in just to shady of an area.  Like do not leave your vehicle parked over night type area.  Current dentist seems fairly honest too.

This is completely a stereotype, but I feel like the older mom and pap type places seem to be more honest and upfront. 

JoJo

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2019, 05:15:51 PM »
Why didn't they just take them out at the same time, I would think that's way more cost effective.

They seem to only do two at a time here.  I think it might be to do with the fact that they don't use general anesthetic here for wisdom tooth removal and the only pain killers you get are ibuprofen.


I guess it has been 25 years since mine were out.  I think mine was done in 2 procedures because they were growing out at different times... 2 out at one time, and the other 3 wisdom teeth the other time (yes, I had 5 wisdom teeth).  They for sure used laughing gas once, and maybe G.A. the other time. 

jfer_rose

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2019, 05:50:32 PM »
For what it's worth, I regret listening to a former dentist's advice not to remove my wisdom teeth. I only had two. A previous dentist had recommended I have them removed and I did not. Then I saw a new dentist and although they were impacted, he didn't think there were any issues and said I could leave them alone. At one of my very next check-ups, they were partially erupted, infected, and very painful. I had to see an oral surgeon to have them removed. During the time I kept them, they shifted my teeth, undoing 4 long years of braces. Several dentists have since recommended braces to me again, which I am adamant I will not do. However, I believe my teeth would likely have remained straight if I had listened to the first dentist's advice and had them removed before they shifted my teeth.

Steeze

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2019, 05:58:54 PM »
80 year old surgeon at the free clinic removed 2 sideways impacted and erupted wisdom teeth and told me if the other two ever erupted to have them removed. Every dentist that has X-ray my teeth has said to remove the other two as a precaution. My new dentist said one is erupted and to have it removed, other is optional at this point. My new dentists goes out of her way to save me money, I trust her opinion. I also trust the old surgeon since he was volunteering and had no incentive. If it ainít broke donít fix it.

former player

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2019, 05:50:19 AM »
I've had mine out, two of which were badly enough impacted that I went to hospital and had a general anaesthetic.  It was on the NHS, so no monetary scam involved, rather the reverse.

OzzieandHarriet

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2019, 07:21:11 AM »
I still have all of mine. No problems.

Sibley

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #30 on: June 21, 2019, 08:55:31 AM »
Wisdom teeth are an evolutionary fun fact. For our ancestors, they were very helpful. Basically another couple teeth to help with chewing. Over time, the average human jawbone size has shrunk, which has increasingly resulted in there physically not being enough room for the wisdom teeth. That causes problems, and plenty of them. There's also an increasing trend of individuals not developing wisdom teeth at all. Evolution in action!

mlipps

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Re: Wisdom tooth removal - scam or necessary?
« Reply #31 on: June 21, 2019, 09:23:30 AM »
I kept mine in long after the dentist told me to do. They were impacted and I had insurance, but the prospect of anesthesia & the coinsurance had me procrastinating it.

I put getting them out on my goals list for 2018 in early Dec of 2017. On Dec 24, my jaw started aching. I realized I had developed an infection in one of them that was soooo painful. I was home at my parent's house for Christmas with a flight back to Chicago on Dec 30. By Dec 29, I couldn't eat anything but a milkshake. I came home and took some Cipro I had lying around & called the oral surgeon. They were able to fit me in on Jan 8th and the Cipro kept the infection bearable (but not good) until then. The infection was 1000 times more miserable than the recovery from the surgery.

Obviously this is the worst case scenario (lucky me...) but if they're at risk for infection just get them out. So not worth it.