Periodontal Complications
Removal of wisdom teeth is often carried out to preserve gum / periodontal health
or, in some situations, to treat existing gum disease-pyorrhoea /
periodontitis.  With
a partially impacted lower wisdom tooth, there is already a
periodontal pocket on
the mesial aspect of the wisdom tooth as well as a bony /
osseous defect in the
bone on the distal root of the second molar.  This situation can, under certain
circumstances, progress to rapid
periodontal destruction.

Post-operative measurements show lower bone levels and deeper pocket depth
than desirable.

Some studies have grouped patients into treatment groups according to age.  It is
suggested that patients < 19 years, between 20 - 35 years, > 35 years may have
periodontal healing potentials following lower third molar removal.

In most young patients (< 19 years), bone height after wisdom tooth removal
appears similar to the pre-operative level.  In fact, some studies even show a gain
in bone level following surgery.  If the bone level distal to the second molar is
compromised before wisdom tooth removal, it normally remains below the normal
level post-operatively.

The greatest bone defects occur in older patients (> 35 years), in whom the
wisdom teeth have already
resorbed part of the second molar.  Periodontal pocket
appears to be the same post-operatively as pre-operatively and in older
patients, pocket depth may even increase following removal of the wisdom tooth.

In younger patients, however, there appears to be no adverse effect on pocket
depth.  In younger patients, reduction in pocket depth can occur for up to 4 years
following surgery though this benefit may not occur in older patients.
Last Updated 8th May 2012
Useful Articles:

J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2007.  The Oral & Systemic Impact of 3rd Molar Periodontal

J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2007.  Changes in 3rd Molar and Non-3rd Molar Periodontal
Pathology Over Time

J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2011.  Effect of Removing an Impacted Mandibular 3rd
Molar on the Periodontal Status of the Mandibular 2nd Molar