Your teen has experienced losing baby teeth, growing new permanent teeth, braces, retainers and plenty of other dental dilemmas, issues, and triumphs. And now that they're a young adult, your child is getting their third set of molars, otherwise known as wisdom teeth.
While some teens have well-positioned, healthy wisdom teeth that come in with room to spare, others need to have their molars removed. Whether your teen is already getting their wisdom teeth or they are still well under the gum-line, it's time to start thinking about whether or not removal is necessary.
Why do some teens need their wisdom teeth removed? Take a look at some common reasons that dentists recommend this oral surgery procedure.
The mouth doesn't always have room to accommodate this last set of teeth. When the teeth don't have the space to break through and come in, they become impacted, or trapped under the gum-line.
In some cases, the teeth do make their way through the gums but don't have room to fully come in or develop normally. Even though some of the molars may be visible, the trapped teeth are impacted.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a range of oral symptoms, including tender gums, jaw pain, swollen gums, bleeding gums, and difficulty opening the jaw or chewing. Oral surgery to remove the impacted teeth is the only way to alleviate the pain and discomfort that wisdom teeth can cause.
Sometimes, the wisdom teeth will erupt from the gums and start to grow in, but there's not actually enough room in the mouth for them. When there is not enough room for the wisdom teeth to completely fit in the mouth, they will crowd the other teeth.
Dental crowding caused by wisdom teeth erupting can move your teen's entire smile out of alignment. This can damage the teeth that are near the third molars and even cause your teen to need another round of orthodontic treatment.
Along with these issues, third molars that are tightly pressed against the second molars can make it brushing and flossing more of a challenge, which can lead to dental decay and infection. Removing the wisdom teeth is the best treatment for dental crowding. After removing the molars, your teen will have enough room for the rest of the teeth in their mouth.
Soft Tissue Infection
Pericoronitis, or soft tissue infection, can cause pain or extreme discomfort around the third molars. It can also lead to an unpleasant taste in the mouth and may turn into a more serious abscess.
Unlike impaction and crowding, extraction isn't the only method of treatment for pericoronitis. It may be possible to reduce the pain and eliminate the infection using a chlorhexidine mouthwash. But if this germfighting mouthwash doesn't help improve the infection, then removing the wisdom tooth in the area is necessary.
Tightly packed wisdom teeth are also difficult to reach, and some of the surfaces may be almost impossible for your teen to properly clean, which will lead to tooth decay. And cavities caused by dental crowding are hard to treat.
Removing the wisdom teeth will eliminate the areas of decay and can help your teen's mouth heal. Without their wisdom teeth, they'll be able to brush and floss more easily, keeping the rest of their mouth clean and cavity-free.
Does your teen have impaction, crowding, or another issue with their wisdom teeth? If you're not sure whether they can keep their third molars or not, a professional opinion is absolutely essential. Contact Dr. Bradley Cohn, D.D.S. for more information and to schedule an appointment.