The teen years are prime time for wisdom teeth problems, since they generally begin to erupt between ages 17 and 25. That's why it is very important that teens are seen regularly by their dentists. Keeping a sharp eye on teenagers and wisdom teeth and intervening at the first sign of trouble can avoid common problems that can be caused as third molars grow in improperly – which occurs more often than not.
Why Wisdom Teeth are Removed: Common Third Molar Problems
While for some lucky teens, third molars grow in without incident and don't necessarily require removal, in the majority of cases, teenagers and wisdom teeth are not a happy combination. Since the human jaw has become somewhat smaller than it was many generations ago, most of us simply don't have room for wisdom teeth to erupt properly. That crowding can result in a number of common problems, such as third molars that emerge at odd angles, which can cause damage or shifting in other teeth, or impaction, where the tooth becomes fully or partially trapped beneath the gum line, a condition that can lead to complications like infections, cysts, tumors or gum disease.
Given the high probability that wisdom teeth will be troublesome, it is very important that their development is monitored closely during the teen years. Catching troublesome wisdom teeth early and removing them before they cause pain, infection or damage to other teeth is the goal of that monitoring. Additionally, even if poorly developed wisdom teeth do not cause immediate complications, when removal will be necessary, sooner is better than later. The longer those troublesome third molars are allowed to develop, the larger and more securely anchored the roots will become, making removal more complicated and painful and recovery a longer and more uncomfortable process.
Teenagers and Wisdom Teeth Removal: Schedule Procedures for Plenty of Recovery Time
Another point of concern with teenagers and wisdom teeth is how, exactly, to fit wisdom teeth removal into the typical teen's busy schedule to ensure a healthy and complete recovery. While wisdom teeth removal is a fairly routine procedure in most cases, it is still surgery, and complications can happen. Complications are more likely in teens that don't take the time to follow their surgeon's instructions and advice after surgery and during the recovery period.
Returning to activities, like sports or a heavy class schedule, or eating pizza the day after surgery instead of soft foods can bring on painful complications like dry socket or infection, making recovery from wisdom teeth removal longer and more difficult than it should be. Scheduling your teen's procedure when he or she has a break from school or sports commitments, perhaps during the upcoming winter/holiday break, is the best way to ensure he or she has the recommended seven to ten days free for recovery.
Of course, acute wisdom teeth problems generally require more immediate attention, a situation that doesn't lend itself to careful scheduling. That is exactly why catching problems in their early stages is so important. Why take the chance of a sudden problem during mid-term exams or, worse yet, finals? If your teen hasn't seen a dentist lately to have wisdom teeth development checked, schedule an appointment. Having them looked at as soon as possible is the best way to avoid common wisdom teeth problems popping up at very inconvenient times.
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