Is This Dentist Trying to Steal from Me?

ok so I got one of the wisdom teeth (bottom right) that grows halfway (the tooth got covered in half with my gum). Therefore, sometimes food got stuck in between the gum and the wisdom tooth, causing pain and bleeding.
Went to see a dentist, who happens to be the oral surgeon and asked him to remove one of the wisdom teeth that causes problems. However, he insisted that I need to remove all of the wisdom teeth even though the other ones are fine and do not cause me any problems.
He said if I dont get all removed, they will cause more problems later on. He sounded like he just wanted me to get rid of all so I could pay him more $$$.

My questions are:
-Was the dentist genuine about my wisdom teeth, which I should get all removed?
-Or was he just trying to get me to remove all, so I can pay him more?

I have been in pain and really wanted to get rid of the tooth as soon as I could so I agreed and already booked an appointment for the wisdom teeth removal.

A friend of my told me I shouldn't do it at all and I should cancel the appointment. Any input will be appreciated.

Comments

  • +54 votes

    I think that it is common to remove all wisdom teeth together, as once they have been removed, there is room for your other teeth to "spread out". If not all teeth were removed together and some move, they will no longer be in alignment which can cause bite issues - may cause wearing on your teeth etc.

    • -10 votes

      While I do agree with your point the bite issues that will come from only one v four wisdom teeth removed will be very minimal. Having all four removed at once is incredibly painful and usually unnecessary due to the movement you mentioned. There are also amplified infection issues when removing all four. If only one is the issue I'd remove just that one under local, much cheaper than all four under general anaesthesia. Which is the norm for four.

      •  

        Rubbish

        • +5 votes

          I don't agree. I have all wisdom teeth, however it took a couple of years for them to grow and sometimes they caused pain. My dentist is very experienced and he told me that I don't need to take them out if they are not causing major problem. I was regularly brushing them, and the gum around sometimes bled. Once fully grown, I don't have any problems at all. I can now say that I have all teeth, and I feel more wise now then before :-). Hence they are called wisdom teeth.

          Sorry, writing from the phone and trying to help fellow ozbargainer, I wrote this twice. Can I politely ask moderators to remove double comment. Thank you.

        •  

          Which part? Would you care to elaborate?

          As what OP is saying is partly correct, as there are risks associated with removing any amount of wisdom teeth (whether it's one or all four) in general.

    • +7 votes

      In my experience you don't want more wisdom teeth removed than necessary, because when the rest of the teeth spread out, you get bigger gaps between the teeth and more food stuck there.

      Why remove 3 good teeth?

      • +2 votes

        The part about wisdom teeth removal resulting is gaps between one’s teeth is 100% incorrect

        •  

          Not according to my dentist. But I clench my teeth during the night, so the rate at which it occurred could just be a me thing. Same effect would occur with chewing over time but would take way longer. Guess all dentists don't agree on stuff huh?

          •  

            @ozbjunkie: It is possible the second molar can shift (or more likely tip) back slightly after wisdom tooth extraction due to loss of posterior support but that is hardly the same as gaps developing between all the teeth.

            Far more of an occurrence is the teeth drift forwards (away from the wisdom teeth) causing crowding, this is called “medial drift”. It seems there is a tendency for the teeth to want to move forward towards throughout life. It used to be thought that the erupting wisdom teeth “pushed” the other teeth forward causing crowding (crooked teeth) at the front of the lower jaw but studies show this shift forwards occurs whether the wisdom teeth are there or not. (Therefore preventing crowding isn’t a reason to have the wisdom teeth removed - however often orthodontists like the wisdom teeth removed to help create space at the back)

            Contemporary understanding is that wisdom teeth don’t cause crowding and thus extracting wisdom teeth doesn’t prevent it. There is simply a tendency for all the teeth to want to drift towards the front. (It has been suggested that this is why we have wisdom teeth - so that if you lost a tooth the wisdom tooth could erupt to help close the space - but this is just speculation).

      •  

        My wisdom teeth were removed 5 years ago, my teeth are more crowded than before.

      •  

        The caveat to this though is as you get older, you get more crowding of your teeth. I wish I'd got all four of mine done a lot sooner than I di.

    • +6 votes

      Most orthodontists and oral surgeons nowadays accept that the wisdom teeth do not influence or crowd your other teeth. Rest of your teeth aren't going to start spreading out because of them.

      A lot of the time, it's a good idea to just remove all 4 wisdom teeth and get it done with. Or at the least remove the top and bottom from one side, because if you remove one then the other won't be doing anything but collect plaque from then on.

      I had all mine removed at once so I don't have to worry about them ever.

      All depends on the situation though as some wisdom teeth may be worse than others. But just because your other wisdoms haven't ever caused you pain, doesn't mean it won't.

      I didn't have to pay so finance wasn't a factor, you can remove the others when they become an issue later on if finance is an issue.

      Overseas have very different regulations and standards to Australia. You have no idea what equipment and materials they are using (won't be TGA approved) and their sterilisation may be vastly lacking compared to here. You wouldn't want to get a nasty infection overseas because of poor infection control protocols.

    •  

      After removing my wisdom teeth, my crowded teeth look worse. I don't think they can spread out that easily as the back/side teeth are pretty entrenched into the bone?

      Reading through the comments above on contemporary dental consensus, it seems right. My teeth are actually moving forward as I age. And the front is more crowded, so for me, wisdom teeth removal didn't cause any spreading out, sadly.

  • +22 votes

    Dentists and vets = thieves lol.

    • +13 votes

      forgot real estate agents

    • +2 votes

      At the risk of getting downvoted into oblivion; Tradies. Not the kind that charge 120 per hour, that's fine. I'm talking about the kind that charge 3000 for a job taking 2 guys one afternoon, 10 grand for 3 guys over 3 afternoons.

      Absolutely sick of it.

      • -4 votes

        You mean the kind you expect to be on call at short notice, have specialised equipment they need to purchase & maintain, certifications & skills to do a job quickly & properly, which all costs them money.
        Best do it yourself then

      •  

        you dont have to hire them get another quote.

    •  

      Too many people taking advantage in Aus. I've been to some dentists and physios in Japan all for a fraction of what I'd pay in Aus, even with insurance.
      Even met an Australian physio who had been working in Japan for the last decade who told me that her Japanese colleagues are shocked when she tells them that the same work gets charged at least 3x back home.

      The difference isn't so much the work or expenses or living costs, or even the level of competition around, it's simply that they don't have a culture of trying to wring out every dollar they can. So they charge what they think is fair and stick with it, while we get every single individual operator progressively jacking up their prices as much as possible in a seemingly coordinated effort that's actually just the result of common greed.

  • +62 votes

    Yes he wants as many teeth as he can get to cash them in with the tooth fairy.

  • +3 votes

    There probably are benefits to getting them all done at the same time - but if you don't see a need for the other ones to be removed, don't do it.

  • +13 votes

    Seek a second opinion then

  • +12 votes

    -Was the dentist genuine about my wisdom teeth, which I should get all removed?

    No, he hates your face and doesn't want to see you another 3 times down the track.

    -Or was he just trying to get me to remove all, so I can pay him more?

    In the OzB spirit ask for a remove 3, get 1 free offer.

  • +8 votes

    Yes. The Dentist is stealing your teeth from you so he can implant them inside his mouth. He is probably going after that shark-man look.

  • +16 votes

    A friend of my told me I shouldn't do it at all

    Is your friend a dentist? If no then why would you take their advice?

    •  

      I had the same issue, I had pain on and off for a few years, but it gradually got less and less as the tooth erupted and the gum receded from the grinding face. After this was all right.

      When I read about this online back then, from country to country the advice changes from remove to don't remove. If it was in pain all the time then yes you could remove it, but these people going on about removing all of them, while that's the way it's done here in Oz I actually don't think it's the right thing to do.

      I am not his friend BTW, so that makes 2 of us :)

    • +4 votes

      No his friend is an Anti-Dentite.

    • +1 vote

      You're right, we should just do everything in life without a second opinion or alternate consultation.

  • +2 votes

    Thanks for the replies. I did get a second opinion from a different dentist and he said I need to brush and clean more carefully. He also suggested a flosser and mouthwash. No removal surgery needed.
    BUT this is not the first time that wisdom tooth has caused me pain. So I really wanna get rid of it.

  •  

    Just got two uppers pulled for $25 USD each they say uppers are easier but they would only pull one then wait a week or so.
    5 hours to stop bleeding each but on one side a massive cavity creator in my gum tooth brush tongue or finger can't reach to clean tooth pick can depending food type so I've just ordered a water floss.
    Side note only needed one done but wanted to even it up to both sides..This is what I was told before I started…

    I got quotes from 4 dentists 3 said rip them 1 a woman said just buy a water pik. Then after having them removed I understand why she said that..
    The inner gum is a lot higher than the outer. Picking out food with a tooth pick was puncturing the side of the inner gum without realizing I could push the pick from the outside through to inner side because the wisdom tooth was on such a degree lean it was a cavity not from tooth rot but the two angles wisdom at 45 normal tooth at 90 a lot of blood from puncturing the gum I thought was rotting.
    The woman charged me $5 for the consultation fair enough and 1 guy wanted $5 for an xray why would you need an xray to pull a tooth and he wanted $40 each plus extras to remove.

    • +4 votes

      In what country and/or year did you get those prices?

      • -6 votes

        Cambodia last one was about 3 weeks ago Khmer's said I should have paid only $15.
        They did offer a suture with a swab to stop bleeding for extra but only pussies needed that.

        I watched crap on youtube from USA panic merchants.. load of crap my bad one took 10 minutes max no pain ever just blood.

      •  

        There's either a couple of zero's missing or perhaps, even a "k"🤣

    • +4 votes

      There are some major nerves for the face in that area, he probably wanted an xray to make sure the tooth wasn't near any or it may complicate the procedure… unless you want half of your jaw to go numb.

      • -5 votes

        we're removing from the jaw not the face that's why dentists try to complicate things to improve their quality of life by customers misunderstandings of a fortified lie such as that.

        • +9 votes

          Since when is the jaw not part of the face? Asking for a friend…

        • +15 votes

          Are you kidding me? The inferior alveolar nerve runs within a canal that sits inside the jaw bone. This canal sits roughly a quarter mm lower than the lower wisdom teeth root tip. That is if you are lucky. In some cases, the nerve itself is wrapped around or runs through the root itself.

          You take that out and you are looking at temporary/permanent numbness of the lower lip if lucky. If unlucky, you just gave yourself trigeminal neuralgia, which often presents as a sharp electric type pain to touch (even a slight breeze). It is often known as a suicide condition. I.e. the pain is so intolerable and incurable, that the person offs themselves.

          The chance of damaging this nerve is anywhere between 0.2-8% depending on the study. That is a hell of a lot of percent when you are looking at an often incurable numbness or pain.

          This is not to mention the lingual nerve which runs along the inside of the jaw bone. This supplies sensation to your tongue. The chance of causing lasting nerve damage is roughly 15% in the first 24 hours and 1% after 1 year.

          The periapical radiograph, or ideally the larger OPG is taken to show what the root looks like, how to approach it, in which direction can it move without causing nerve damage, where the nerve is, how thick the jaw bone is (to avoid a fracture of your jaw) etc. If a dentist were to take out a wisdom tooth without an xray, and cause permanent damage, that dentist cannot defend themselves in front of a board or court.

          P.S. I have had some wisdom teeth take literally 15 seconds to pop out (including lower ones). Others have taken up to an hour. It all depends on the shape and position. Hence the xray.

          •  

            @Tech5:

            In some cases, the nerve itself is wrapped around or runs through the root itself.

            Exactly right. That's the issue I have with one of my lower wisdom teeth. I had four rear molars removed (two upper, two lower) when I was 12 as my front teeth were crowding - I'm now in my 50s and none of my wisdom teeth have ever come through properly. Three are partially through, but the lower right had only ever just shown through the gum slightly (in the past couple of years, it's come up another couple of mm LOL). Anyway, have never had any trouble with them but went to a new dentist about 10 years ago and she told me the tooth should come out because it was "probably" going to cause issues - she sent me for an OPG which showed the nerve running right through the root of the tooth. There's no way she was going to touch it because of the high risk of nerve damage, and referred me to an oral surgeon (never bothered to go to him as the tooth has never been a problem - touch wood!).

    •  

      You really need to post this as a bargain…. Do it…. Just do it!!

  • +1 vote

    ok i know theres another option: go overseas and get it removed. i have done it (one removed overseas) and it was super cheap (flight ticket + removal sugery fees + accommodation + food/travel combined and still cheaper than get it done here). cant do it now due to work and some personal things.

    • +6 votes

      OP, speaking as someone who has expertise in this area, here are the relevant issues:

      1) unimpacted, non diseased wisdom teeth do not need to be removed; unfortunately most people will have some impaction and therefore likely to have issues which justify extraction

      2) the main risk of extraction of lower wisdom teeth is risk of injury to the nerve that gives feeling to the lower lip and chin, this risk is on average 1% or less but gradually increases with age and if your tooth is close to the nerve the risk can be as high as 20%. There if there are signs of impaction it is often advised to have all 4 wisdom teeth removed as the risk is lower the younger you are.

      3) please be aware there most so called oral surgeons are just dentists who fancy themselves as surgeons and don’t have any particular surgical training. If you are considering having all 4 wisdom teeth out under general anaesthetic you should see an “oral and maxillofacial” surgeon as they have studied medicine and dentistry and actually have surgical training. ( also they aren’t necessarily more expensive as you can get Medicare rebates for the consult as they are doctors)

      •  

        Great information. Thank you

      •  

        Thanks for the info

      •  

        There are such things as specialist "oral surgeons" who have master's degrees in the field along with training. AHPRA and the Australian Dental Board recognise oral surgery as a dental specialty in its own right, but it also falls under oral and maxillofacial surgery. Most of these oral (and not maxillofacial) surgeons are of an older generation, but there will be some more coming through in the future, now that the University of Sydney recently resumed it's post-graduate program for it.

        You are probably thinking of general dentists calling themselves dental surgeons, which isn't wrong, but I think there's a guy in Sydney whose website mentions that he is an oral surgeon, which isn't correct or technically legal either.

        •  

          Yep, you are correct.

          Oral surgery has now been reinstated as a dental specialty and thus use of the title should be restricted to those with specialist registration

          There are unfortunately some dentists who portray themselves as specialists playing on the “surgeon” part of dental surgeon which may be misleading to lay people who may not appreciate there is a substantial difference between a “dental surgeon” and an “oral/ oral & maxillofacial surgeon”.

          Often non specialist dentists will use terms like “special interest in oral surgery” or “practice restricted to oral surgery”.

          If in doubt you can always check whether someone is registered as a specialist via the ahpra website

  • +1 vote

    If your going under general anaesthetic it’d be more cost efficient but if just doing it in the chair, then you can do the other ones later

    •  

      This is what the dentist said when I got an xray re wisdom teeth. Going under takes up a big chunk of the cost so it roughly evens out if you have to do it more than once vs getting all 4 done at once.
      Still have all my teeth though as it wasn't bothering me too much haha.

      • +1 vote

        If you have private health insurance it is often not much more to go under general anaesthetic* as the health fund will cover the hospital admission costs.

        • depends on fund and level of cover. YMMV.
  • +1 vote

    Did they do an x-ray? If not, they should in order to check what the others are doing.

    Also, how old are you? If you still have some growing to do, the wisdom teeth still move so it still might be better to get them all out.

    •  

      If you still have some growing to do, the wisdom teeth still move

      This is true even if you aren't growing but there's room in your mouth, and I actually think it's a reason not to do it now if the pain isn't that bad and it's only intermittent

  • +2 votes

    He said if I dont get all removed, they will cause more problems later on. He sounded like he just wanted me to get rid of all so I could pay him more $$$.

    I got my top two removed when I was 17. Years later, had issues with the other two once every few months, and eventually had them taken out too. In hindsight, probably should have gotten them all extracted at the same time and only dealt with one week with a swollen jaw.

  •  

    Get a referral from the dentist for an OPG. They will assess if your wisdom(s) will cause the other teeth to be impacted. Remove those that may cause you grief in the future. Most people get them all removed anyway and not everyone has 4 wisdoms.

    Also, if you're in your 20s - your wisdoms are probably starting to come out now so I would recommend you getting an OPG.

  • +4 votes

    An orthodontist I saw 35 years ago told me I needed all wisdom teeth surgically removed since they were (according to his interpretation of an x-ray) growing on odd angles.

    So glad I didn't follow his advice. Have had no trouble with them so far.

    • +9 votes

      We don't know what you look like, so 'no trouble with them so far' can mean a lot of things…

  • -2 votes

    It should be purely your choice about how many of your teeth you want extracted.

    If your dentist is trying to force you to remove extra teeth, then I suggest telling him to nick off & going & finding another dentist.

    There are a lot of dodgy dentists around.

    Regarding the problem of food getting stuck & causing pain, it could help to try regular flossing with Piksters and/or a water flosser.

  • +1 vote

    I wouldn't remove more than 1 tooth a time, think of the amount of blood you'd be spitting :P

    If a wisdom tooth bothers me I would just remove that one. The dentist is probably right that it would be "better" to remove all, but my teeth my decision.

    Upper wisdom tooth are easy to remove, bottom ones are difficult and may cause your cheeks swell and cause pain for few days.

    I'm one of those that only goes to see a dentist when I have an issue, and which I'm going to do tomorrow :)

    • +1 vote

      I had all four taken out at once. It was unpleasant… but doable. I’d definitely make sure OP go to a good surgeon if thinking about taking out more than 2 at once

      • +1 vote

        Me too, mouth tasted like i'd been chewing on a copper pipe for a while…. but all good after a few days. My dentist was a bit of a legend. he prescribed me some pain meds and gave me his personal number and said call anytime if you are having any issues.

    • +4 votes

      All at once means it's done and dusted.
      Certain benefits to that.

    • +2 votes

      1 at a time? That is far more inconvenient and costly.

      I had all of mine removed at once (only had 3, funnily enough). It wasn't that bad. You stay at home for a few days, eat icy poles and soups. Big deal.

      As far as surgeries and injuries go, getting your wisdom teeth removed is pretty mild.

      I'm one of those that only goes to see a dentist when I have an issue

      Great advice…

  • +3 votes

    From what I understood about when I went to get my wisdom teeth checked (public dentist), just because they don't hurt doesn't mean there isn't a problem. 3/4 of my teeth are impacted in some way and none of them hurt / get infected. However, it was recommended that I get all 4 removed so they don't cause problems later.
    If you are concerned then you should get a second opinion.

  •  

    I had one initially removed, it was decaying and causing pain. I ended up going back a couple years later and getting the remaining 3 removed.

    In hindsight removing them all was the simpler choice. They serve no practical purpose, and are a pain to reach back to clean, and floss between on the daily.

    Random interesting point of fact - a certain portion of the population do not have the genetics to develop wisdom teeth

    • +1 vote

      Random interesting point of fact - a certain portion of the population do not have the genetics to develop wisdom teeth

      raises hand

  • +6 votes

    Teeth problems that are causing pain are already "too late" to treat conservatively.

    A tooth with a hole that does not hurt, might cost $200 to fill. When it starts getting sensitive, it might now be $300. When it starts to ache, now it costs $1400 for a root canal.

    Wisdom teeth are often like this. When they are packed sideways or difficult to clean, they tend to trap food. If this causes them to decay, it doesn't really matter as you don't use them. The risk is if it causes decay to the very important teeth in front.

    If I see wisdom teeth trapping food or not being cleaned, I almost always discuss extraction. Whether or not the patient notices any signs or symptoms.

    The dentist you saw for a second opinion diagnosed the exact same issue, but has a different plan. The first dentist does not think you can keep them clean, hence exo. The second dentist thinks you have a chance if you try hard, hence keep them in.

  • +4 votes

    OMG This is highway robery!! No need to do this at all.

    Just get metal hook to swing around your tooth. Tie the other end to a winch on a pickup truck and just rev the engine hard. Will have the tooth out in no time at all and will cost bugger all. Problem solved!

    For full disclosure, I dated a cousin of a dentist once.

  • +2 votes

    As someone who has only recently removed all 4 wisdom teeth (3 months ago), I feel like removing all 4 is the general advice that they give out, but if you don't feel like doing all 4, then don't do it. The reason is that there are nerves in close proximity to the teeth, and the teeth will grow into them. Removing the wisdom teeth before they reach the nerves have less implications later because if you extract the teeth after they reached the nerve, it may cause nerve damage during the extraction process. Also, it is cheaper to do all 4 at once compared to if you did 2 separately (if required in the future) due to the price of anaesthetics.

    Both doctors are right. The first one is correct in saying that wisdom teeth often causes more pain later down the road as they are notoriously difficult to maintain. I can attest to this as I brush my teeth and floss twice daily, but sometimes food still get stuck in there. Or the remaining wisdom teeth might also start growing horizontally in the future as well, causing the problems that you are currently having.

    As for the blood loss everyone else has mentioned, it isn't that big of a deal. Yes, you do spit out quite a bit within the first hour or two, but only about 200mL worth I reckon. This is less than the amount that blood donations take.

    You can fix the problem now for relatively cheap (hahaha), or you can try your luck but you might end up paying more in the future.

  •  

    They should have shown you the X-rays of the teeth if he's saying to pull them all out. You can easily tell if they need to be done. I would get the other corresponding side done at the same time though. Unless your having surgery for it there is a lot of blood! I was spitting out pools of blood in the car park straight after. Maybe in a couple years check on the two wisdom teeth that are left (uppers or bottoms) and see if they've grown out more.

  • +1 vote

    If you're going in for surgery, get them all. But if it's a plain manual extraction under local anaesthesia the. Get one done.

  • -1 vote

    I've heard several stories of dentists suggesting that all teeth be removed due to them being 'chalky'.
    10 years later the teeth were fine.
    This is nothing short of abuse, IMO.

    Has anyone else had this experience?

  •  

    Went to a private insurance partner/owned dentist clinic, which suggested me to remove all at once for "convenience" and less future problems. They were pushy about it. I was doubting this and thought of the same as you (milking me money).

    I went to another dentist clinic, which is family owned. Did xrays, even bulk billed rather than the private one which charged me money. Then after the review, I got told that I only need to get one removed and my other three won't cause any problems.

    TLDR; Ask for a second opinion.

  • +1 vote

    As Grandpa Simpson says… A little from Column A a little from Column B.

    The dentist is right. Statistically it's going to happen to all of your wisdom teeth. And realistically he will give you the best price on removing all 4 wisdom teeth at the same time.so really he is giving you good advice but also is suggesting the option that is most beneficial to him (you may not go to him for every individual wisdom tooth removal).

    Dentists annoy me though. Years ago as a child I had a tooth go bad and be removed on my right lower side… The wisdom tooth on that side grew in no problems. The one on the left hand side hurts every couple of months and has never grown in. I got a quote and was told i would have to be put under and that it would cost me a couple of thousand dollars.

    I asked my dentist friend if she could just remove a tooth on the left lower side to give it space to grow in. She told me that she couldn't ethically do that… It's my mouth for God's sake. hahaha. And I'm sure if I made the space the other tooth would grow in properly!

    •  

      Best way to think about it is, your mouth but her hands/license :)

    •  

      I asked my dentist friend if she could just remove a tooth on the left lower side to give it space to grow in. She told me that she couldn't ethically do that… It's my mouth for God's sake. hahaha.

      You're laughing at your dentist for having ethics and morals…?

      Nobody is saying you can't remove the tooth yourself, but you can't force someone else to remove your tooth at the (potential) expense of getting sued, losing their license, or not having a clear conscience doing the procedure.

      And I'm sure if I made the space the other tooth would grow in properly!

      What makes you think that?

      •  

        What makes me so sure of that?

        Physics and deduction? My mouth has room for x amount of teeth. Suddenly I have x + 1 teeth in my mouth.

        I would have had x + 2 teeth but they removed one tooth on one side and that tooth just slid in there and closed the gap.

        So is it ethics and morals or fear of being sued? Get your arguments straight mate.

        Anyway just having a laugh. If I genuinely wanted the tooth removed I would find someone who would do it.

        •  

          Lol teeth don't just slide in as an adult. There is a specific age (between 8-10) where an extraction of the first molar will cause the second molar to slide right in.

          After that, it does not happen

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