Wisdom teeth removal, Washington DC dental professionals will tell you, is necessary in most people, since these third molars become problematic more often than not. Most often, the problem is that there isn’t enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to emerge properly, which can lead to a variety problems, including impactions, infections and damage or shifting in adjacent teeth. If your kids have reached high school or college age, you’ll likely be dealing with wisdom teeth problems soon, since they generally emerge – or attempt to – between ages 17 and 25. So what do parents need to know about wisdom teeth removal?

Wisdom Teeth Removal Washington DC: How To Know When It’s Needed

The first thing parents need to know is how to tell if their teen or young adult needs wisdom teeth removal. Washington DC dentists generally monitor wisdom teeth development in teens if they see them regularly. Often, they can detect potential problems with wisdom teeth very early by keeping track of their development via X-rays or 3D imaging. Early detection means that your teen can have wisdom teeth removal done before pain and problems begin, like damage to other teeth or infection.

For teens who have not had that sort of monitoring, the need for wisdom teeth removal may become plain as they develop symptoms, such as pain at the back of the mouth,  jaw pain, gum inflammation or bleeding or frequent headaches. Additionally, some teens may see shifting of existing teeth as wisdom teeth attempt to push into a jaw without enough space for them. Often, problematic wisdom teeth don’t produce any immediate symptoms. If your teen or young adult hasn’t developed wisdom teeth yet, it is wise to have your dentist check to see if they have become impacted – a precaution that can prevent these teeth from causing complications later.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Washington DC: Why Sooner Is Better

If your dentist has told you that your teen or young adult needs wisdom teeth removal, it’s best to get it done as soon as possible. Waiting gives the tooth roots more time to develop, creating a stronger bond with the jawbone. That makes extraction more difficult and painful and increases recovery time and risk of surgical complications.

Additionally, leaving impacted wisdom teeth in place too long – whether they are fully or partially impacted – can lead to a number of serious complications. A wisdom tooth that is partially impacted – with just part of the tooth buried below the gum line – creates a breeding ground for bacteria, often leading to decay, infection or gum disease. A fully impacted tooth – one that is completely trapped beneath the gum line – can develop cysts or tumors around them, growths that can cause bone or nerve damage in the jaw. Impacted teeth can also press against the roots of adjacent teeth, causing damage, decay or crowding – which can undo any previously done orthodontic work.

Lastly, parents should know that wisdom teeth removal is, in most cases, a very routine and uneventful procedure. Serious complications are rare, and while minor complications, such as dry socket or infection, happen in a small percentage of cases, they are unusual. So long as your teen or young adult follows your oral surgeon’s after-care instructions carefully, he or she will be back to normal before you know it.

If you have any questions about wisdom teeth removal surgery, contact our office in the Washington, DC area at (202) 386-7100.