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Dental question

À propos of nothing much:

How normal is it to have a wisdom tooth operation at the age of 56?


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
You've been aging abnormally rapidly in recent months?
Aug. 23rd, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
That was my immediate thought as well...
Aug. 23rd, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
Depends what the operation is actually doing, The teeth will have been fully erupted and in situ since whoever it was was ~13-16, so presumably this is down to them rotting rather than overcrowding. Unless there is something wrong with the teeth, I'd see no reason to remove them.
Aug. 23rd, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
Wisdom teeth don't all erupt that early. (I was in my twenties when I had mine out.)

But 56 is still at least 30 years later than I'd expect.
Aug. 24th, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
They start erupting around 13. I should have been clearer about the end date they normally in the final stages of breaking through the bone by ~16 and without over crowding should be in their final location. They may grow in a stop start pattern once they have erupted through the bone. Most people have them out because their jaw is too small for them all to fit in and there is increasing pain as they grow into each other, or the crowding forces them to grow in the wrong direction (through bits of the jaw they really shouldn't be aiming for). Dentists often leave it a few years before taking them out, as they can sort themselves out without intervention, but they tend to be removed if they start erupting again and causing pain (which does happen).

If you ask a physical anthropologist about it they'll remind you that reduced size (the mandible and maxillae) is one of the poorly understood 'features' of domestication across all species. Our ice age precursors see to have been spared this dubious pleasure, and their mandibles and maxillae have space to spare around the molars. Some populations don't have M3s. Presumably there's a gene that turns them off. My M3s were allegedly removed when I was 12 as an x-ray showed them heading resolutely in the wrong direction. I say allegedly, as I can feel part of the cusp of a tooth half erupted at the back of one of my gums where an M3 should be, with a annoying flap of skin that keeps getting food caught under it.
Aug. 23rd, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
Sounds profoundly unwise to me (I had mine proactively removed age 18). ;-)

Does this explain that mouth abcess thing you've been fighting through all these years?
Aug. 23rd, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
I guess it depends on the circs. I had one removed at the age of 43 (me not the tooth) because it was causing recurring infections and ultimately a nasty abscess. Seemed eminently sensible and cause me no problems at all.
Aug. 23rd, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
A colleague of mine had a wisdom tooth appear when he was 70.

I recently had to wisdom teeth taken out due to recurring infections. OK, I'm a youngster of 34, but with modern drugs the operation really isn't a big deal. You will find, however that mentioning your upcoming operation to anyone is the cue for them to launch into their favourite dental horror story.
Aug. 23rd, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
Your wisdom teeth can cause problems at any age if they get infected.
Aug. 24th, 2007 07:20 am (UTC)
All i know is the earlier in age you have them removed, the less likely it is the procedure ends with complications. That said, the jaw specialists at 't Heilig Hart are very capable (and nice too :)
Aug. 24th, 2007 08:08 am (UTC)
I seem to recall HM the Queen having a wisdom tooth op in her, um, well, older than when most people have them done. aha, the marvels of google - 1982. So that'd make her 56 at the time.
Aug. 24th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
Hah, you spotted who I was asking the question about!!!
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
Um, no, sadly, cannot claim any credit for that. I just have have one of those 'retains endless amounts of junk info' brains* so the thought process went something like 'Older than usually expected and teeth ops? Why does that ring a bell? Ah, yes, something to do with Mrs Queen...' Cue google and there we have it.

*Hence the long list of people who now refuse to play Trivial Pursuit with me. Tho' I have been very popular at pub quizzes.
Aug. 24th, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
My sister just had some of hers removed, early 40s. Not infected or impacted, but believed to be involved in some sort of jaw skeleto-muscular problem she's had for a year or two.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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