Do All Teens Need a Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

Posted on: May 16, 2018

Should a wisdom teeth extraction be scheduled for adolescents automatically? This is something that is often up for debate between dental professionals and parents. Ultimately, everyone's goal is for adolescents to be in good oral health and remain that way through adulthood. The question of whether or not to extract wisdom teeth should be based on a conclusion of how wisdom teeth could negatively impact an individual adolescent's health, if at all. With that in mind, here are a few things that should be considered.

Is there enough room in their mouth?

Very often, a wisdom teeth extraction is necessary because there is not enough room in a person's palate to support the addition of the third set of molars. Since people typically do not lose their first and second set of molars, as they may have in the past, by the time wisdom teeth try to descend, there is typically little to no room for them to safely do so. This leads to challenges where they can grow in impacted or push other teeth out of the way.

There are several challenges with this, including complications caused to teeth that may have recently been straightened using orthodontics. So, if it does not appear that there is enough room or an adolescent has recently completed an orthodontic treatment, scheduling an extraction may be the best course of action.

Have they grown in correctly?

If wisdom teeth are impacted, it is going to create an oral health problem. For the wisdom teeth to remain in the mouth, they need to descend straight down, just like every other tooth. If they grow in sideways, on top of or behind other teeth, this will create spaces that can trap food while eating. This can create serious tooth decay and even gum disease. In this situation, it is common for the second set of molars to suffer problems and even to become infected.

It is obvious if wisdom teeth emerge correctly or not. An adolescent will know simply by brushing their teeth. A dentist can easily make this determination as well during a routine examination and cleaning. So, if the wisdom teeth are impacted or grow incorrectly, it is best to schedule an extraction.

How a wisdom teeth extraction is completed

Once it is determined that an adolescent should have their wisdom teeth removed, we will need to determine the best way to do so. This is possible by using two different methods.

1. Removing the teeth with dental pliers

If they have grown in relatively straight, it may be possible to grasp the wisdom teeth with pliers and simply wiggle them out of place. This is the ideal and best option, if possible.

2. Oral surgery

In most cases, it will be necessary to remove the wisdom teeth with oral surgery. This is true if they have grown in impacted or are not fully erupted. For this, the patient will typically be put to sleep, a flap will be created in the gum tissue and the tooth will either be removed in one piece or broken up and removed in several sections. The area will be cleaned, the gum flap sutured in place and packed with gauze. Pain medication will be used to prevent discomfort.

Schedule an examination

To determine if a wisdom teeth extraction is necessary, call our office and schedule an examination. We can make a recommendation at that time and discuss the next steps.

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