Advising Orthodontic Patients About Their Wisdom Teeth: Dr Gene Jensen’s Rebuttal of Dr Randy Lang’s September 1, 2013 editorial entitled “advising Orthodontic Patients about Their Wisdom Teeth”
he subject of wisdom teeth and the debate about whether they should be extracted or not, dates back to about the year 1900, when Dr Edward Angle, the patriarch of modern orthodontics, and Dr Case, one of his disciples, had a running feud which lasted for years, regarding the necessity to extract teeth, or not, in order to facilitate orthodontic correction. As history would later prove, Dr Case was the winner of that argument, at least temporarily, since extraction of bicuspid teeth became a routine procedure in the orthodontic protocol of most orthodontic practices, from about 1920 to approximately 1980. Notwithstanding, Dr Angle continued to incorporate all of the permanent teeth, including the bicuspid teeth, as well as, the wisdom teeth into his orthodontic treatment, and his teaching, during his tenure. He believed that 32 permanent teeth could be accommodated in the jaws of most modern-day humans. Needless to say, repercussions of this philosophy were numerous, not the least of which were over-expansion, bimaxillary dental protrusion, labio gingival recession, dental relapse, periocoronitis, dental impactions, periodontal bone loss, root resorption, dental infection and pain, and all of the aforementioned, a full forty years before the discovery of antibiotics and effective analgesics.