The last teeth to appear in your child’s mouth are the third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth. Unlike the rest of the permanent teeth, wisdom teeth erupt after puberty, typically between the ages of 17 to 25. But for many people, there simply isn’t room in their mouths for these additional four teeth, and the eruption process may not finish or even occur, due to wisdom teeth coming in horizontally rather than vertically.
Called impaction, this condition is treated by extracting these extra teeth, which may cause pain or oral health issues. You can help your teen prepare for wisdom tooth extraction by familiarizing yourself with the procedure and its care options. Even older wisdom teeth patients can find comfort from a well-informed parent.
Nervousness is normal
For some teens, wisdom teeth may be their first experience with tooth extraction. Understandably, this can cause worry and anxiety, particularly at a time in life when so many new and unknown situations arise in their young lives.
Yet despite their potential anxiety, teens are often capable of calming themselves with reason. Accept their nervousness as valid, explain the logical reasons why extraction is necessary, and you may be surprised by how well they control their own reactions to the procedure.
Explain the process
Knowing what to expect is often helpful in any new situation. Because a wisdom tooth is usually not in a standard vertical position when it requires extraction, the procedure is more complex than a regular extraction. This means sedation is likely, which also means your teen will be relaxed and may not remember much about the extraction itself.
Anesthetics used in contemporary dentistry ensure that your child doesn’t sense pain through the procedure.
Ask questions and discuss the extraction process with your Fresh Dental Care dentist during the appointment before the extraction, preferably with your child present. This may help them feel involved and empowered. It may not eliminate their worry, but it can help them cope with it.
The recovery process
Much depends on the severity of your child’s wisdom tooth impaction, but recovery from extraction is straight-forward, and following your dentist’s care instructions ensures the best progress. There will be discomfort or pain as anesthetics wear off, so use pain medication as directed to control this.
Ice packs also help with pain management as well as local swelling. Swelling and discomfort typically last a few days, while jaw stiffness could persist for about a week.
Think ahead about foods that will be easy for your child to handle in the recovery phase. Comfort foods like pudding or ice cream are ideal while their mouth is too tender to chew. Consider smoothies made with their favorite flavors, but avoid using straws, which can dislodge the clots that protect the area around extracted teeth as they heal.
Distractions from the aches and disorientation they may feel are helpful, so collect books, magazines, movies, video games, or other electronic devices to help them pass the time.
To learn more about your child’s extraction, speak with our caregivers at Fresh Dental Care. Call the most convenient of our Houston offices to book an appointment today.