Ask Dr. Lynn: Wisdom Teeth, Crowns and Fillings

I am 30 years old, and my wisdom teeth have grown in only partially. Although they don’t hurt, my dentist wants me to have them removed. Do I need to have them removed?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, very often (but not always) need to be extracted, particularly when the teeth are mal-aligned ; cannot be cleaned properly; are causing problems to other teeth; are infected; are painful; cannot be restored or if there is insufficient room in the mouth.

It is better to have your wisdom teeth removed when you are younger. This helps reduce the potential for complications. It is best to consult with an oral surgeon about the benefits and risks of having your wisdom teeth removed.

I recently broke a 20-year old filling. My dentist suggested that I get a crown. Can’t I just have her put another filling in my tooth?

In many instances, your dentist can place a new filling. However, if the old filling is large, or if there is new decay in the tooth, there may not be enough solid tooth structure left to fill. In this case, a crown would be the best option.

A crown will help hold the tooth together. Without a crown, the tooth is more prone to fracture, which could require additional treatment such as a root canal or gum surgery. There also is a risk of tooth loss. Consult with your dentist on the best option for your situation.

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Dear Readers:
Thank you so much for the great response to our new column. We received many excellent questions. Keep the questions coming!

About the Author

Lynn Malone, DDS, is a practicing dentist with the Center for Dental Excellence in Flossmoor, IL; (800) 783-1893. She graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1993.


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