Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wisdom Teeth: Should They Stay Or Should They Go?

Here at San Clemente Dentist Dr. Eric Johnson's office, we start looking at a child's wisdom teeth around the age of 16, to make sure there's enough room for them to come in properly, without causing problems. Wisdom teeth are completely non-vital to a child's health, so if it appears that there may be a problem with them, Dr. Johnson suggests having them removed simply to be on the safe side -- and removing them early on is easier than removing them later in life, as their roots will be shallower.

The Downside of Removal
The downsides of wisdom teeth removal are mostly the same as with any other minor surgery.
  • Your child may have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic (very rarely).
  • He or she may experience swelling and tenderness in the area of the removed teeth.
  • The sutures that are used to close the hole left behind by the removed tooth may open and leave a space that needs to be re-closed.
  • A very small number (less than 0.01%) of people who have this procedure have unexplained pain in the jaw that doesn't respond to painkillers and can last for years.

The Upside of Removal The upsides of getting your wisdom teeth pulled are all about the conditions you avoid by having them taken out. With no wisdom teeth crowding their other teeth around, your kids may see the following benefits:
  • Their wisdom teeth won't come in at odd angles and be quite so difficult to clean.
  • Their other teeth won't get crowded together and require braces to keep straight.
  • They won't experience the minor infections common with wisdom teeth eruption.
  • They will be able to easily clean the back sides of their rearmost teeth.
There is no cut-and-dried protocol that says your child's wisdom teeth must be removed. It depends on the child and if there is foreseeable problems in the future. Dr. Johnson can inform you and your child of the potential issues or if it is beneficial to keep the wisdom teeth. Check out our Pediatric Patients page of our web site for more information.

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