Could Dental Anaesthetics Stop Wisdom Tooth Development?

Dental Anaesthesia and Wisdom Teeth Development

Wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are the teeth that take up the back-most position in the mouth and are the last teeth to start developing. They start to form in the jaw somewhere between the ages of two and six years.

In the modern jaw, there is often little room available for wisdom teeth to fit into the dental arch. Without available space, wisdom teeth often become impacted, causing pain or infection. Many people have their wisdom teeth removed as a result. While some people do not develop wisdom teeth at all, most of us do.  9 out of 10 people who develop wisdom teeth will have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, according to the American Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons.

In a small study conducted in Boston (US), researchers looked into the association between dental anaesthesia given to children aged 2-6 and the incidence of missing lower wisdom teeth. Statistics from the study suggest that the injection of anaesthesia in the lower jaw may have played a role in stopping the development of the lower wisdom teeth.

Anthony D Silvestri, DMD, clinical professor in the department of prosthodontics and operative dentistry at the Tufts University of Dental Medicine concluded:

“The incidence of missing wisdom teeth was significantly higher in the group that had received dental anesthesia; statistical evidence suggests that this did not happen by chance alone. We hope our findings stimulate research using larger sample sizes and longer periods of observation to confirm our findings and help better understand how wisdom teeth can be stopped from developing. Dentists have been giving local anesthesia to children for nearly 100 years and may have been preventing wisdom teeth from forming without even knowing it. Our findings give hope that a procedure preventing third molar growth can be developed.”

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