The harms of wisdom tooth removal and how to avoid it

1. Introduction

The following text comes from my own personal experience, having had two lower wisdom teeth removed, and from research I have made on the subject. It is meant to warn against wisdom tooth removal, describe its effects and the reasons for them and explain how to avoid it.

2. The effects of wisdom tooth removal

Without the wisdom teeth, some muscles, fat pads and ligaments that touch them shift and stop touching them, causing various changes to the way the jaw feels and moves.

Some of the effects of the wisdom teeth being removed:

(Note that the side effects mentioned here are different from the complications that happen sometimes during wisdom tooth removal when parts of the trigeminal nerve are injured in the extraction and are instead caused by the structural changes that happen when the wisdom teeth stop being there and supporting muscles and other anatomical parts around them.)

3. The anatomical relations of wisdom teeth

I have found the wisdom teeth have anatomical relations with other parts of the mouth, showing probably that their removal causes problems and the mechanism for these changes. The wisdom teeth touch the buccinator muscles, the buccal fat pads and the masseter muscles. (Press here for illustrations.) Each of these presses on the previous one, and finally the buccinator rests on the wisdom teeth directly.

Another interaction of the lower wisdom teeth that I am less sure of is with the pterygomandibular ligaments.

I believe that removal of the wisdom teeth, because they would otherwise interact with these anatomical parts I mentioned, causes the main problems that arise from wisdom teeth's removal.

4. The prophylactic removal of impacted wisdom teeth

Some dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth prophylactically (meaning preventively, without them having any problems) when they're impacted (impacted teeth are teeth that became stuck in their eruption, and so didn't fully erupt). This is seen as damaging and needless by others. For example, the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): The NICE's guidelines for wisdom teeth removal and a paper by a US dentist: The Prophylactic Extraction of Third Molars: A Public Health Hazard. Note: It is advisable, in my opinion, to go regularly to a dentist for checkups, perhaps once a year, to monitor the teeth in general, and especially if you have impacted wisdom teeth.

5. The removal of wisdom teeth in orthodontistry

It is a dental myth that wisdom teeth cause crowding of the other teeth of the mouth.

I quote from The Prophylactic Extraction of Third Molars: A Public Health Hazard (from the section "Myth Number 3 - Pressure of Erupting Third Molars Causes Crowding of Anterior Teeth"), which is a paper published in 2007:

"It is not possible for lower third molars, which develop in the spongy interior cancellous tissue of bone with no firm support, to push 14 other teeth with roots implanted vertically like the pegs of a picket fence so that the incisors in the middle twist and overlap. Yet that is the reason often given for removal of third molars, even though studies have produced contrary evidence. Third molars do not possess sufficient force to move other teeth. They cannot cause crowding and overlapping of the incisors, and any such association is not causation."

So, orthodontic treatment (which many times is itself harmful, needless and involves many times teeth removal) has no reason to include wisdom teeth removal.

6. How to avoid wisdom tooth removal

Avoidance of wisdom tooth removal is possible by

7. What can people who already had wisdom teeth removed do?

The best option for those who already had wisdom tooth removal would probably be to replace the missing wisdom teeth with dental implants. The crowns of these implants would occupy the space the missing wisdom teeth used to, and so normal function with the muscles, fat pads and ligaments I mentioned earlier (in section 3) should return. However, this is not commonly performed currently and dentists generally refuse to perform such a procedure. As well, it might not work or have issues with it that are yet unknown. One such possible problem would be injuring the pterygomandibular ligament, which is hard to distinguish from the regular gum tissue, in the sockets of a removed lower wisdom tooth. So, it might get injured in the process of cutting the gums to reach the bone, to insert the implants. I imagine that when wisdom teeth would be widely known as having important interactions with the tissues around them, the process of replacing wisdom teeth in those who would have them removed (removal which will probably become a rare thing) would be better known and obstacles such as the pterygomandibular ligament being close to the socket would be overcome. However, this might take many years.

8. Conclusions

is my opinion that given the anatomical relations of wisdom teeth and the effects of wisdom tooth removal presented here, wisdom tooth removal should be avoided when possible.

If wisdom teeth have been removed, then discomfort, damage to function of the neck, lower jaw and head, changes to behavior and other symptoms should be expected.

9. Appendixes

Appendix A: Why do people get impacted wisdom teeth and crooked teeth? And how to avoid these from happening

It is known to scientists that have access to ancient and modern skulls, that humans before the industrial age, and more so, before the advent of agriculture, hardly ever had crooked teeth or impacted wisdom teeth.

A number given for the rise in the incidence of wisdom tooth impaction between the industrial age to previously to it is ten-fold.

The reason for crooked teeth and impacted wisdom teeth is that the jaw is too small for the teeth to erupt well.

The well established theory that explains this reduction in the sizes of jaws is that it is not genetic, but rather caused by a change in diet, specifically, by children eating softer foods. It seems that jaws, during childhood, while they are still growing, respond to the mechanical stresses of chewing, and grow more when given harder foods to chew.

So, it seems that the way to prevent children from getting crooked teeth and impacted wisdom teeth when older, is to feed them harder to chew foods, such as raw fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, hard breads, etc. (Note that children under the age of five shouldn't eat certain hard to chew foods, such as whole grapes or nuts, unless they are cut first to smaller pieces, to avoid the risk of choking.)

Link to a news story on The Conversation about this subject: Bad molars? The origins of wisdom teeth

Appendix B: List of poeple who had wisdom teeth removal

Press here for a list of about a hundred, mostly famous, and mostly American, people, who had wisdom teeth removal, with information about the removal and a note if they suffered harmful changes following the removal.

A large proportion of them suffer from various problems after wisdom teeth removal, including mental health issues and eccentric behavior, and comparing their appearance, speech and singing before and after the wisdom teeth removal, one can see the harmful effects it had on that too, in my opinion, without exception.

10. Contact details

Please contact me If you have any questions, remarks, feedback, etc. My name is Asaf Cygelberg and my E-mail address is