Once your child turns twelve and gets their second molars, they have probably finished “teething” for a few years. But lurking under their gums is a third set of molars waiting to come in, with the potential of causing problems.
The wisdom teeth begin forming in the jaw when a child is about nine years old, finishing by their teens or early 20s. Our dentists at Kherani Dental will use imaging to check the developmental progress of the wisdom teeth for your teen. By sixteen or seventeen, we should be able to determine whether the teeth will be able to come in with no problem or not. If there isn’t room or they develop an infection, the best step is to remove them before they affect adjacent teeth.
Does it Hurt?
In general, no. Having your wisdom teeth out can be less painful than leaving them in. Dr. Kherani uses both dental sedation and local anesthesia before removing the teeth. You may notice a dull ache after you wake up from the surgery, but it can usually be managed with ibuprofen.
If you don’t have your impacted wisdom teeth removed, you may experience continual pain from swelling in the gums, or from the molar pushing against another molar. Over time an impacted molar can even lead to damage and disease to your jaw bone and surrounding teeth, which is super painful. Clearly, best option is to have them out!
How Long Will It Take to Heal?
The answer here is, it depends. Your mouth has the amazing ability to form a blood clot in the empty socket, and your gums will heal over it. This takes about two weeks. If you lose your clot(s) you’ll end up with a painful condition called dry socket which can take several weeks or months to recover from. Your gums will have to grow down around the interior of the socket instead of over the blood clot. It will make your jaw ache and poses a risk of infection.
You can take these steps to avoid dry sockets:
- Don’t use a straw. The physical pull of the cheek muscles and tongue can be enough to dislodge the clot.
- Abstain from Tobacco Products. Smoking uses similar muscle movement as straw usage, but tobacco itself can dissolve an existing blood clot or create an environment where one will not form and the gum cannot heal.
- Drink lots of water, but not much else. Sugary, fizzy, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks will not promote healing in your mouth, but may increase bacteria!
- Wait at least 24 hours before you brush. This is one of the only times your dentist will tell you NOT to brush or floss your teeth. But you need to wait after surgery so that you don’t disturb the clot, stitches, or dressing. We recommend not even rinsing your mouth for at least 24 hours.
A small percentage of patients have wisdom teeth come in with no problem. But most people need to have them out. When you’re ready to schedule your teen’s wisdom tooth extraction, call our Calgary office for an appointment!