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 results of this study suggest that injecting anesthesia into the gums of these children may have interrupted the development of the lower wisdom teeth. The incidence of missing wisdom teeth was significantly higher in a studied group that had received dental anesthesia at an early age. According to the study the statistical evidence suggests that the absence of wisdom teeth following dental anesthesia in this population group did not happen by chance alone.
Not everyone develops wisdom teeth, but for those who do, the teeth often become impacted or problematic and require removal. What’s interesting to note is that dentists who administered anesthesia to their patients at an early age may have been unwittingly preventing the development of their third molars. This type of research provides hope that eventually there will be a preventative treatment eliminating third molars way before they become problematic.
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 April 2013 JADA, authors of the study are Anthony R. Silvestri, D.M.D., Clinical professor at Tufts University, Gerald (Jerry) Swee, D.M.D., M.S., clinical instructor in the department of pediatric dentistry; Matthew Finkelman, Ph.D., assistant professor; Alfred Rich, D.M.D., M.D.S., clinical associate professor in the department of pediatric dentistry; Stanley Alexander, D.M.D., chair and professor of the department of pediatric dentistry; Cheen Loo, B.D.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., D.M.D., associate professor in the department of pediatric dentistry, all of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.