Between the ages of 16 and 20, many teenagers will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. As a procedure, this can be a bit daunting for teens. Many worry about needing to get their wisdom teeth out because for most teens this may be their first experience with surgery. The best way to track your wisdom teeth is with regular dental x-rays and dental visits.
Dentists recommend that adults and children get dental x-rays taken every year. It is also recommended that kids and parents go to the dentist twice a year which is also covered in most dental insurance plans. With this in mind, it is common for people to get their x-rays every other regular dental visit. X-rays help dentists track how our teeth come in and notice any problems.
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth taken. Teens will often have friends who either were born without wisdom teeth or whose wisdom teeth are not an issue. Wisdom teeth are usually only removed if there is a risk that the teeth will become impacted. In some cases, this can also mean that a single person only needs one or two teeth removed instead of all four.
Dentists will recommend the removal of wisdom teeth if it is likely that they will become (or already are) impacted. Of course like any dental procedure it is up to the parents or the legal adult to decide whether or not they want to proceed. That being said, impacted wisdom teeth can cause many problems. The largest of these issues is the severe pain impacted wisdom teeth will cause. An impacted tooth refers to a tooth that is coming in at a strange angle (due to lack of room) causing it to ram into other teeth. This will also cause misalignment which can make it hard to bite or chew food.
There are many steps to a wisdom tooth removal procedure. Different practices follow different protocols so it is important to talk to your dentists about their unique process. But most commonly, the patient will be conscious for the procedure but on heavy local anesthetics removing any sensations during the procedure. Once the anesthetics are working, the dentist will open the gums remove the teeth and close the gums with stitching. For a more in-depth article on this process please check out our original FAQ.
After getting your wisdom teeth removed your dentist will provide you with next steps to take to ensure that your recovery process goes smoothly. Most often, you will need to pick up pain medication for the next few days and live on a liquid diet until it is comfortable to chew soft foods. Additionally you should gargle lightly salted warm water to disinfect and clean your stitches after every meal. This can prevent infection and keep you safe.
We would love to answer any of your questions as well as see you in person at our offices. To schedule an appointment please click here.