NICE has recommended that:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth that are free from disease (healthy) should not be operated on. There are two reasons for this:
    • There is no reliable research to suggest that this practice benefits patients
    • Patients who do have healthy wisdom teeth removed are being exposed to the risks of surgery. These can include, nerve damage, damage to other teeth, infection, bleeding, and, rarely, death. Also, after surgery to remove wisdom teeth, patients may have swelling, pain and be unable to open their mouth fully.
  • Patients who have impacted wisdom teeth that are not causing problems should visit their dentist for their usual check-ups.
  • Only patients who have diseased wisdom teeth, or other problems with their mouth, should have their wisdom teeth removed. Your dentist or oral surgeon will be aware of the sort of disease or condition which would require you to have surgery. Examples include untreatable tooth decay, abscesses, cysts or tumours, disease of the tissues around the tooth or where the tooth is in the way of other surgery.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guidance represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this guidance is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the guidance to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.