The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the last permanent molars to erupt. This usually occurs between the ages of 17 and 21. For many parents, these ages are still part of the childhood years and making dental decisions may still fall on your lap.
Since wisdom teeth are a common source of dental complications, dentists often recommend that parents have their young adult children remove wisdom teeth to alleviate problems or to prevent more serious issues in the future.
Problems Wisdom Teeth Can Cause
Impaction is a common source of other dental issues. An impacted wisdom tooth has not fully erupted from the gums and won’t be able to, usually because there isn’t enough space in the mouth. Teeth that have already erupted can be forced out of alignment. Sometimes wisdom teeth need to be extracted before a child gets braces to prevent complications.
An impacted wisdom tooth can cause pain in the jaw, headaches, infection, and cysts. In addition, a child may have difficulty cleaning wisdom teeth since they are located all the way at the back of the mouth. Improper hygiene can lead to cavities and periodontal disease.
Why Your Child’s Dentist May Recommend Extracting Wisdom Teeth
Dentists often advise parents to have their children’s wisdom teeth removed before they have an opportunity to cause serious problems. Removing your child’s wisdom teeth early can also help you avoid much more expensive dental bills later.
With any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complications, including infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. However, removing a wisdom tooth early is less likely to result in complications than extracting it after the roots have developed completely.
Your child’s dentist will take periodic x-rays to monitor the eruption of the wisdom teeth and to look for signs of current or potential problems. If the x-rays show a cause for concern, or if your child complains of pain, the dentist may recommend an extraction.
Leaving your child’s wisdom teeth intact only makes sense if they aren’t causing any problems. That means they have erupted completely, aren’t causing pain, and don’t have any decay or disease, and that your child is able to reach them to brush and floss correctly.
Schedule an Appointment for a Dental Exam and X-Rays
Your child’s pediatric dentist will take x-rays to evaluate the current state of the wisdom teeth and to look for any signs of problems. Based on that information, the dentist may recommend extracting the wisdom teeth or taking a wait-and-see approach. If your child is due for a dental exam and x-rays, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry today.