Is your teen due for wisdom tooth removal? Do you know how to tell?
Although some grow in with no trouble, the third molars frequently cause dental problems as they erupt. Consequently, most teens eventually need to have their wisdom teeth extracted.
Oral surgeons recommend that parents keep an eye out for the telltale signs. If your teen experiences any of these symptoms, contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss the possibility of a wisdom tooth extraction for your son or daughter.
No. 1: Pain from an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Impacted wisdom teeth — teeth that are stuck in or below the gums and unable to fully emerge — place significant stress on the jawbone. Pain is a common result, although the discomfort may not be focused exactly in the third molar area. With impaction, the pain can radiate throughout the jaw and head.
In fact, if your teen suffers from frequent headaches, impacted wisdom teeth could be to blame.
No. 2: Pain from Awkward Tooth Growth
For some teens, the wisdom teeth grow in at an awkward angle. Instead of growing straight, they press sideways and up against nearby teeth, or rub up against the cheek or tongue. In any of these cases, your teen will typically experience pain at or near the problem spot.
No. 3: Swelling in the Gums Near the Wisdom Teeth
Problem wisdom teeth can cause inflammation in the gums and surrounding tissues. Sometimes the gums also turn redder than normal or begin to bleed. These issues often indicate the presence of gum disease or infection, either of which points to the possible need for wisdom tooth removal.
No. 4: Chronic Bad Breath
For some teens, chronic bad breath (halitosis) is the result of poor dental hygiene, health problems or medications. For others, unrelenting bad breath is caused by oral health issues. Like inflammation, chronic halitosis is often a sign of wisdom tooth infection or gum disease.
No. 5: Tooth Sensitivity
When cavities are just beginning to form, they don’t always cause symptoms. As tooth decay worsens, however, your teens can experience tooth sensitivity. If they complain about pain when eating or drinking hot, cold or sweet foods, they could have a third molar cavity. In that case, extraction is typically the best course of action.
No. 6: Chronic Sinus Issues
If your teen suffers form chronic sinus problems, the wisdom teeth may not immediately come to mind as a possible cause. But in some cases, the angle of growth causes the third molars to press against the sinuses. When that happens, teens can experience recurring sinus pain, pressure and congestion.
Even if your child doesn’t have any of these symptoms, it’s best not to wait for problems to arise. A proactive approach is always preferred when dealing with a known potential problem. Also, keeping the third molars increases the risk of gum disease and other significant oral health problems. Early extraction can prevent most of these problems from arising. And when you plan for this procedure, you can schedule it during a school break or another convenient time.
The professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah specialize in tooth extractions, and we offer a range of sedation and anesthesia options to keep your teen comfortable for the procedure. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to discuss your teen’s wisdom tooth removal today.