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    Thread: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

    1. #1
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      Default Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      And if so, what was your experience like?

      I am 42 and still have all four of my wisdom teeth and all are full bony impactions. Somehow I missed out on having them removed when I was a teenager and over the years I completely forgot about them as they caused me no trouble. Every few years a dentist would notice them on an X-ray and comment on them but never made a big deal about getting them out since they seemed to be asymptomatic. Now, I have switched to a new dentist and recently found out that I have to have my first molar on the bottom right removed by an oral surgeon. While telling me this he springs on me ďHey, while youíre there letís get these wisdom teeth outĒ and ďyou know, you really donít want to be a 65 year old diabetic with heart disease and need these outĒ. I wasnít so sure about it but went to the consultation with the OS to see what he had to say. The OS looked at my X-Ray and concluded that it would be beneficial to have them all out since there are some ďpocketsĒ between the second molars and wisdom teeth that could cause some problems in the future. He then spent more time discussing the implant process and how Iím a great candidate for it. He did discuss that there were some slight risks involved, the nerves and sinus cavity but I got the impression that it wasnít that big of a deal. So, I agreed to surgery to have all the wisdoms plus the other molar removed two days later. Later that evening I searched the internet for the risks and found out to my horror that I seem to have waited too long, that surgery after about age 35 or 40 has a huge risk of all complications and that the nerve damage could be permanent. I called the next morning and canceled the surgery and requested a cone beam CT scan so we could have more information about the nerve location. I had that done and a few days later the surgeon called with the results. Both of my upper wisdom teeth have roots so long that they extend into the sinus cavity. But the OS seems to think that it is no big deal and any holes would heal up or be repaired if necessary. My bottom left wisdom tooth is lying right on the nerve and we both agreed that it should probably be left alone for now. My bottom right wisdom tooth does have some separation from the nerve and he felt like it would be ďlow riskĒ to remove it. He gave me odds of 10% chance of temporary numbness and 1% chance of permanent numbness. So now I really donít know what to do. I know that there is no surgery that is risk free and no surgeon can tell me that. But, to be honest, Iím scared to death and Iíve been completely consumed about making this decision. I donít want to end up at 65 and need these out, but I donít really want to live for years and years with any permanent damage either. Temporary stuff like pain, swelling, or dry socket I can handle, but Iíve never read any account from anyone over age 40 who has had an impacted wisdom tooth removed who didnít have some type of nerve damage and here recently I havenít been feeling very lucky. So, if you had the surgery for impacted wisdom teeth after 40, or know someone (spouse, friend, etc.) who did and didnít suffer any lasting damage could you please post this and help put my mind at ease? Thanks.
      Last edited by rdm; 19th May 2009 at 17:06.

    2. #2
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      Hi, I'm almost 39 and just had a wisdom tooth out. It was a simple extraction done by my new dentist. The last dentist had planned on doing a surgical but this one was able to get it right out without any problems. It was a bottom right tooth and I had no complications. The extraction pain was tolerable with ibuprophen.

      I try not to read much on the internet because it always seems like a horror story. Yes there are risks but I think your surgeon can let you know if they think it is something to really worry about.

    3. #3
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      I have a friend who had them all out in her forties under i/v sedation with no ill -effects whatsoever.
      I am puzzled by your account though, in USA they seem to be very keen to whip them out whereas in Europe we tend to only do it if there are symptoms/likely to be future problems.

      How many implants are being proposed? Good on you for getting the bone scan. I think I'd probably get the one near the proposed implant removed and maybe leave the rest. Are you sure the molar being removed for the implant is not restorable with a root canal?
      Last edited by brit; 20th May 2009 at 00:00.
      It's the 21st Century.......dentistry can and should be painless but we patients come unstuck because all dentists are not created equal

    4. #4
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      Brit: I am puzzled as well. I am in the U.S. but all these years no one has really pressed me to get them out and then all of a sudden I have to get this other tooth removed and there's a big push to get all of them out at once. Both the dentist and the OS used the same story of an old, sick diabetic man needing it done and that was very likely going to be me if I didn't do it.

      I'm only getting one implant. The dentist was attempting to do a root canal after cutting off an old crown but when he starting taking out all the decay he said there wasn't enough to save and not even enough for him to extract it himself. That's when the hard sell began on the wisdom teeth. I am leaning toward what you said about just getting the one done but the possibility of nerve damage is pretty unsettling.

      Scared2bthere: Yes, one of my problems is I read way too much stuff on the internet.

    5. #5
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      Quote Originally Posted by rdm View Post
      Both the dentist and the OS used the same story of an old, sick diabetic man needing it done and that was very likely going to be me if I didn't do it.
      Why do they assume diabetic? Don't see what difference this makes anyway to surgery...people who are diabetic have all sorts of stuff done. I do think younger people heal better probably but unnecessary surgery is unnecessary surgery.

      If it helps I had 3 of my wisdom teeth removed under GA a long time ago..the surgeon wanted to leave the 4th as it was through. At the time I would have preferred to have got rid of it but I am glad he kept it now. Who knows maybe that was for nerve reasons.

      If you need an implant, it makes sense to ensure you do not damage your investment by having a wisdom tooth come through etc etc.
      Good luck
      It's the 21st Century.......dentistry can and should be painless but we patients come unstuck because all dentists are not created equal

    6. #6
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      Hi rdm - my husband is in the same situation and I meant to post the same thing you just did.

      He had an appt. on May 8 to have all 4 wisdom teeth out, he is exactly the same age as you - 42. 5 minutes before surgery (no consultation was booked prior) the OS informed him (upon my prodding) that there was a 1:50 chance of nerve damage - which could be permanent, there was no way to tell if it would be temporary or permanent.

      My husband opted to not have the surgery and left. He felt that unless there was an emergency situation, those odds were just too high and too risky. I can certainly relate to you cancelling.

      I too would like to see what other results come back from people 40+ who have had this done.

      BTW, we are in Canada and wisdom teeth are taken out here like they represent the plague. As soon as they show up on an x-ray, dentists want them OUT-OUT-OUT. My husband described a similar situation to yours, it was suggested/mentioned to him for years, but he never bothered until the dentist brought it up again recently.

      If you come across any new info, please let me know, even by PM if you wish. We did all the internet research too, and while most of the time I tend to take everything with a grain of salt, the incidences of nerve damage from wisdom teeth extraction seemed to be quite consistent.

    7. #7
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      Quote Originally Posted by leela View Post
      Hi rdm - my husband is in the same situation and I meant to post the same thing you just did.

      He had an appt. on May 8 to have all 4 wisdom teeth out, he is exactly the same age as you - 42. 5 minutes before surgery (no consultation was booked prior) the OS informed him (upon my prodding) that there was a 1:50 chance of nerve damage - which could be permanent, there was no way to tell if it would be temporary or permanent.

      My husband opted to not have the surgery and left. He felt that unless there was an emergency situation, those odds were just too high and too risky. I can certainly relate to you cancelling.

      I too would like to see what other results come back from people 40+ who have had this done.

      BTW, we are in Canada and wisdom teeth are taken out here like they represent the plague. As soon as they show up on an x-ray, dentists want them OUT-OUT-OUT. My husband described a similar situation to yours, it was suggested/mentioned to him for years, but he never bothered until the dentist brought it up again recently.

      If you come across any new info, please let me know, even by PM if you wish. We did all the internet research too, and while most of the time I tend to take everything with a grain of salt, the incidences of nerve damage from wisdom teeth extraction seemed to be quite consistent.

      Sadly most people only tell the world about the bad things that happen to them when getting their wisdom teeth out, so that is why you hear a lot more about nerve damage than success. (My opinion)

    8. #8
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      Hi, rdm
      I had my upper wisdom teeth taken out last October at the age of 45. I have had no problems whatsoever. Mine were fully erupted, maybe that's why I had no problems with getting them removed. In fact, my dentist never even mentioned any sort of risks to me since I was over 40. I guess it depends on the teeth.
      ,
      Jen

    9. #9
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      Hey Mikey - do you mind if I ask how old you were, and if you know what your condition was - as in do you know if any of your wisdom teeth were particularly close to the nerve?

      In my husband's case, the OS seemed a bit hesitant as well. He asked my husband why the dentist thought they should come out now, and my husband told him it was because he had a slight toothache in the tooth that is 3 teeth away from the wisdom teeth. The OS said, "well I can't even guarantee that getting wisdom teeth out will have any effect on a tooth that far away", and it was he that mentioned that this was an elective procedure not an emergent one, and that my husband should feel comfortable with the decision.

      So it's hard to make a decision to go ahead with something where there could be serious complications when you are getting that kind of feedback from the OS - didn't leave us with a big vote of confidence.

      He'll take it one day at a time now and see where he needs to go with this down the road.

    10. #10
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      Default Re: Has anyone had their wisdom teeth out after age 40?

      I had myn removed at 16, they were already causing me headaches and jaw aches. All four of them were impacted completely. I'm not really sure how close to the nerve they were without asking my dentist.

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