Your wisdom teeth are a set of third molars that generally start to erupt in your late teens or sometimes your early 20s. When you hear about wisdom teeth, it is most often because someone you know is having them removed or extracted.
Wisdom tooth extractions are something most of us have gone through – or will go through – in our lives for the simple reason that the majority do not have enough space in our mouths for them to come through without affecting the rest of our teeth.
Because wisdom teeth are often removed as soon as they start to erupt from the gums, the process is different from most other tooth extractions – involving dental surgery to cut through the gums to remove the teeth. This is done under local anesthesia so the process itself is not painful although there is usually some swelling and discomfort in the days following.
In this article, we will explain the process of wisdom tooth extractions in Red Deer and why it is often recommended.
How to know if your child’s wisdom teeth need to be removed:
It is recommended that you have your child’s wisdom teeth evaluated by a dentist when they are between the ages of 16 and 19. Your child’s dentist will make a recommendation based on a number of factors including:
- Are their wisdom teeth impacted? These are teeth that are crooked or even coming in sideways which can lead to bigger dental problems later on.
- Is their crowding? Overly crowded teeth can cause pain and even become infected.
- Are the wisdom teeth causing your child pain? If they are, it may be time to consider having them extracted.
Are there any reasons not to have wisdom teeth removed?
Keeping one’s wisdom teeth may provide some benefits. For example, they may fill in gaps in another molar that is missing or they can support a dental bridge if necessary. There is even some work in the scientific field that suggests that wisdom teeth could one day be a source for stem cells to develop new teeth!
During your child’s dental exam, their dentist will determine whether extraction is necessary.
What to expect from the wisdom tooth extraction procedure:
Children are often nervous about having their wisdom teeth removed, however, knowing what to expect can often calm some of those anxieties.
Wisdom tooth removal is a dental surgery which in most cases wisdom tooth removal is done under local anesthesia. The gum tissue that covers the tooth, as well as the connective tissue between the tooth and bone, must be removed before the tooth can be extracted. In some cases, the tooth may have to be cut into smaller pieces in order to be removed. After the tooth has been extracted, the gum is sewn closed again. This is done with dissolvable stitches which do not require a follow up appointment to be removed.
During the surgery, your child should not experience any pain because they will be under anesthesia. After surgery though, many people experience some level of pain or discomfort that usually subsides within three days.
Tips for recovery after wisdom tooth extraction:
Most children are fully recovered from the procedure within five to seven days however the area around the gums may take longer to heal completely.
Here are a few things that you can do to help your child recover after a wisdom tooth extraction:
- In the first 24 hours of the procedure, there is likely to be some bleeding. Have your child gently bite down on gauze for 45 minutes to stop this. If you don’t have gauze, a tea bag will also work! (If bleeding is heavy or does not stop, contact your dentist).
- Some facial swelling after the procedure is normal. To help relieve this, try using ice packs – on for 10 minutes and off for 20. This may be done as often as necessary during the first 24 hours.
- If your child is experiencing pain, this can usually be managed with over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In some cases, your dentist may prescribe something stronger.
- If your dentist prescribes antibiotics before and/or after the procedure, ensure that these are taken as prescribed. These can help to prevent infection.
- Your child should not rinse their mouth for the first 24 hours after the procedure. After that time, they may use salt water to gently rinse their mouth after meals and before bed. This should be continued for five days following the procedure.
- Following wisdom tooth removal, your child’s mouth will be sensitive so feed them soft, easy to chew foods.
- Have your child brush and floss their teeth as normal but avoid the area near the extraction site.
If your child is at the age where their wisdom teeth are starting to come through, contact us today to have them evaluated by one of our dentists. If wisdom tooth extraction is recommended, we are to provide quality service and care through every step of the process.