By the time you hit your late teens or are in your early 20’s, a typical dental visit may lead to professional advice to remove your Third Molars, or Wisdom teeth as they are known in common language.
While many of you may not question that advice, preferring instead to defer to your dentist, it may do you well to at least ask some probing questions first, before taking a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the extraction.
Let’s take a closer look at whether you should (or shouldn’t!) remove your wisdom teeth - is it a scam?
The Case Against Wisdom Teeth Removal
Holistic dentists of today, inspired by the insightful research of Dr. Weston A. Price in the 1990’s, strongly recommend that there is no real case for the “routine” removal of wisdom teeth.
Dr’ Price’s research, documented in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, on native tribes and traditional diets concluded that:
- Your dental health is strongly linked to what you eat
- Proper diet will supply the appropriate nutrition to your teeth and jaw bones
- A reduced sugar or sugar-free diet will keep your teeth decay free
The result: Proper bone structure will mean adequate spacing for your wisdom teeth to grow and mature, just as the other teeth in your mouth flourish.
And while many proponents for extraction cite chances of wide-spread oral infection as a reason for extraction, Dr. Jay W. Friedman, DDS, MPH strongly refutes such claims by saying:
“There is no evidence of widespread third-molar infection and pathology or of medical necessity to justify so much surgery”
Additionally, according to the ancient acupuncture traditions your teeth, including Third Molars, are believed to play a pivotal role in enabling motor and sensory functions of your brain – almost 46% association.
Studies show that anywhere between 57,000 and 175,000 individuals suffer from permanent nerve damage post the removal of their Wisdom teeth.
Do you really want to be part of such grim statistics?
The Case For Wisdom Teeth Removal
Critics of Dr. Price’s work, including prominent New Jersey physician Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of “Eat To Live: The Revolutionary Plan for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss”, believe that the Price research is flawed, omitting a number of facts, and biased in favor of others.
As a result, critics believe that the case for using diet as the sole guardian against the need to have your wisdom teeth extracted is flawed. In defence of Dr. Price’s critics:
- What are you supposed to do if, despite trying hard to follow a Price-inspired diet, you are unable to maintain your diet?
- What if you suffer from inherited weak jaw bone structures?
- What do you do if you have underlying bone conditions like osteoporosis, which have no link to a high sugar diet?
- What options do you have if your wisdom teeth are partially erupted, endangering the normal growth of other teeth in their vicinity?
The fact of the matter is that not everyone is able to sustain a diet indefinitely, and not every wisdom tooth removal recommendation is based on a patient’s poor dietary routine. Other lifestyle habits can also influence such recommendations.
Your wisdom teeth are situated in the farthest recesses of your mouth, often making them hard to reach when you floss or brush.
Many dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal as a result of oral inspections that determine buildup of floss or bacteria in the farthest corners of your mouth.
Such conditions can:
- Lead to infection
- Which can then spread to other teeth and even other parts of the body
- Which can cause wisdom teeth and other healthy teeth to develop cavities
- Which then requires significant amount of corrective dental procedures
As a result, most dentists recommend the extraction of the wisdom teeth at the earliest.
What Do We Think?
Proponents of wisdom teeth extraction hold that your wisdom teeth aren’t really serving you any significant purpose – other than hindering proper oral hygiene.
Many opponents of the wisdom teeth extraction argument may point to the 10 toes on your feet and summarise that you really don’t need all 10 of them for perfect poise or balance: So does that advance the cause to amputate them?
The fact of the matter is that wisdom teeth removal is big business for the dental industry – almost 3 billion dollars annually, with 5 million procedures performed each year in Australia!.
With that much of money at stake, you should be cautious about blindly accepting your dentist’s recommendation to extract your wisdom teeth – even if the advice sounds genuine.
Ask questions such as:
- Why are you making this recommendation?
- Is there an imminent threat to my health if I decide to retain my wisdom teeth?
- How will my wisdom teeth affect my other teeth and overall health?
- How long can I defer extraction without jeopardising my dental and overall health?
- Will you continue to treat me if I decline your recommendation to extract? If not, why?
Just as there is no
Question your dentist and understand the reasons behind his/her advice before making your own decision.