Is your teen feeling anxious about wisdom teeth removal? Talking to your teen about why Dr. Emery recommends extracting these teeth and explaining  what he or she can expect during the procedure and after can help them alleviate that anxiety. Of course, to do this, you’ll have to know a bit about wisdom teeth removal yourself, so here are some basic facts that can help you ease your teenager’s mind about the process before the big day arrives.

Why Wisdom Teeth Removal is Performed

While some lucky people have wisdom teeth that grow in nicely, they are the exception, rather than the rule. For most, wisdom teeth will become problematic, since most of us don’t have enough room in the jaw for them to erupt properly.

This often leads to wisdom teeth coming in crooked, crowding other teeth or becoming impacted –  trapped beneath the gum – either partially or fully. Partially impacted teeth are prone to infection, since bacteria can thrive in areas of the tooth still covered in gum tissue. Fully impacted teeth can cause problems like cysts or tumors. Wisdom teeth that grow in crooked or crowd other teeth can cause mouth pain, infection or damage to adjacent teeth.

The bottom line is that problematic wisdom teeth– an issue that your Washington DC oral surgeon or dentist can often detect before wisdom teeth emerge – can cause a lot of dental problems and pain. Having them removed early — ideally before roots are fully developed — can avoid those problems.

What To Expect During Surgery

For the vast majority of teens, wisdom teeth removal is a quick and easy procedure. Many procedures are done with local anesthesia and IV sedation, ensuring that teens feel no pain. Simple extractions take just a few minutes per tooth, while impacted teeth may take up to an hour. Once the procedure is complete, patients are given time to recover from the anesthesia. Once they are feeling awake and alert, they are free to go home.

What To Expect During Recovery

Your teen will be sore after surgery and likely for a few days afterwards. However, gum and jaw pain is generally mild enough to be controlled with medication. Some light bleeding can be expected during the first day or two, as can some swelling and bruising. Following your surgeon’s instructions to rest during this initial period can minimize these effects, since activities that raise your teen’s blood pressure can lead to increased bleeding, swelling and pain.

Your teen will be restricted to a diet of soft foods until surgical sites are healed. Staying hydrated is important, so make lots of fluids available – but no straws, since the suction they create can be harmful to extraction sites.

Recovery from wisdom teeth removal is generally a relatively quick process for teens – much faster and easier than it can be for adults. Typically, teens are fully healed within 4 to six weeks.

Complication Risks

Lots of teens have seen horror stories on the internet about wisdom teeth removal and are anxious about complications. However, the truth is that serious complications are extremely rare occurrences. Even minor complications like infection or excessive bleeding are not very likely. The most common complication of wisdom teeth removal is dry socket – in which the protective blood clot comes loose from the extraction site, causing pain – occurs in just a small percentage of patients. Following the aftercare instructions provided by your Washington DC oral surgeon can minimize that already small risk of complications.

For more wisdom teeth removal information, contact our office in the Washington, DC area at (202) 386-7100.