Questions You May Have About Your Teen's Wisdom Teeth

As your child enters their teen years, you may not only need to start thinking about orthodontics, but wisdom tooth extractions as well. While most teens start seeing wisdom tooth development between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five, there have been cases of early eruption at about fourteen.

If the teeth are impacted, they can only be seen on an X-ray, so it's important to visit your dentist regularly so you know when your child's wisdom teeth have come in. Here are some questions you might have about your teen's wisdom teeth.

Does My Child Need to Have Their Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

Many people have their wisdom teeth removed nowadays because their jaws cannot support these third molars. In fact, leaving wisdom teeth in can cause all sorts of issues. The teeth may never erupt fully, so they can cause swelling and jaw pain. If they do erupt, they may cause crooked teeth from crowding or be difficult to brush and floss. Lastly, wisdom teeth that only partially erupt can cause pericoronitis, a serious bacterial infection that can cause inflamed gum tissue and abscesses. Your dentist can advise you on your best options. Wisdom tooth extraction can help your teen avoid problems down the road.

How Long Will it Take Them To Recover After an Extraction?

While your child may have residual swelling and bruising for many weeks, it usually only takes about a week for them to start feeling like themselves again. Recovery times also vary depending on whether they were under anesthetic or not. If the wisdom teeth have fully erupted, your teen may only need local anesthetic. If your teen has a more complicated case or has lots of anxiety, then semi-conscious sedation or complete sedation may be necessary. Professionals, like those at Family First Dentistry LLC, know that it can take awhile for more intense sedatives to leave the system, so your child may be more groggy and take a while to recover. You'll definitely need to drive them home and monitor them the day of their surgery. They will recover steadily if you follow the doctor's orders. For instance, keep your teen hydrated and make sure they eat soft foods like ice cream, yogurt, mashed potatoes, applesauce, etc.

What Complications Should You Help Them Watch Out For?

Wisdom tooth extractions are very safe. The main complication to watch out for is a dry socket. A dry socket occurs when a blood clot covering the extraction site becomes dislodged. When a clot dislodges, this leaves the nerves and bone exposed to infection. If your child feels more pain, has bad breath, or has an unpleasant taste in their mouth, they may have a dry socket. It's important to contact your dentist to fix this particular issue quickly. Dry socket is painful and can cause lots of complications.

You can help your child avoid a dry socket by making sure they:

  • Don't use a straw (the suction action can pull the clot out).

  • Elevate their head while they sleep.

  • Don't brush their teeth too early (the dentist will prescribe a strong mouthrinse for them to use instead).

If you have more questions about wisdom tooth extractions, contact a dentist in your area today for more information.