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Sept 21, 1984

Removal of Asymptomatic Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Author Affiliations

Rossford, Ohio

JAMA. 1984;252(11):1410-1411. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350110016017

To the Editor.—  I appreciated reading the discussion of Dr Laskin1 on removal of asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth. However, some important points need to be focused on. (1) Increased morbidity associated with age is associated with almost all surgeries and is not an indication for early prophylactic surgery. (2) Apparently there are no projective studies that demonstrate that prophylactic removal of asymptomatic impacted third molars is associated with lower morbidity.2,3It is difficult to understand how it can be standard to recommend that a significant portion of the population be subjected to a surgical procedure that has a substantial morbidity without knowledge of the value of the surgery.Cardiovascular surgeons have to prove that coronary bypass surgery is associated with lower morbidity and mortality; ear, nose, and throat surgeons have to prove that tonsil and adenoidectomy or myringotomy tube placement are associated with a significant decrease in morbidity.