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 epidemiological study, published in the April issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association, suggest that injecting anesthesia into the gums of young children may interrupt the development of the lower wisdom tooth.
“It is intriguing to think that something as routine as local anesthesia could stop wisdom teeth from developing.
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This is the first study in humans showing an association between a routinely administered, minimally invasive clinical procedure and arrested third molar growth,” said corresponding author, Anthony R. Silvestri, DMD, clinical professor in the department of prosthodontics and operative dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.
Wisdom teeth are potentially vulnerable to injury because their development — unlike all other teeth — does not begin until well after birth.
Between 2 and 6 years of age, wisdom tooth (third molar) buds begin to develop in the back four corners of the mouth, and typically emerge in the late teens or early adulthood.
Not everyone develops wisdom teeth, but for those who do, the teeth often become impacted or problematic.