Young teen girl with braces on her teeth

Preventing wisdom tooth growth may now be possible

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons reports that nine out of 10 people will have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, which can cause bad breath, pain, and/or infection. For this reason, many dentists recommend surgery to remove wisdom teeth to prevent disease or infection.

However, researchers from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine have discovered a statistical association between the injection of local dental anesthesia given to children ages two to six and evidence of missing lower wisdom teeth. The data suggests that injecting anesthesia into the gums of young children may interrupt the development of the lower wisdom tooth.

As it turns out, routine treatment for children including dental anesthesia has been preventing third molar eruption without dentists even realizing it. Armed with this new knowledge, the findings give hope that a procedure preventing third molar growth can be developed by treating the tooth buds early before tooth bud eruption begins.