As a parent your child's health is of the upmost concern to you. However, wisdom teeth are an overlooked concern that leads to many oral health complications.
The Problem with Wisdom Teeth
At around 10–15 years of age, your child's wisdom teeth will become visible on X-rays. At that time, wisdom teeth are mostly benign and unproblematic. However, by the time your child is in high school, these molars could begin to cause issues.
Wisdom teeth come from a time when jaw bones were larger and more accommodating. People have developed smaller jaws which leads to complications as wisdom teeth emerge. Often these complications involve misaligned wisdom teeth that put pressure on neighboring teeth. In some cases if a wisdom tooth is not extracted it may start to absorb the root of the neighboring molar. This can lead to both teeth having to be removed.
Silent Infections and Impactions
If your child's wisdom teeth are impacted further complications will develop. An impacted tooth is a tooth which attempted to come in, but couldn't. These teeth either barely break the gum's surface or are still entirely embedded in bone.
When an impaction occurs your child's infection risk goes up. This is especially true if the tooth is only partially exposed above the gum's surface. Partially erupted teeth are harder to clean and frequently harbor food particles and bacteria around them. Even if your child was to experience no pain, there's still a chance an infection could be lurking below the surface. These infections can lead to cysts, gum disease, and inflammation.
When to Have Wisdom Teeth Extracted
When wisdom teeth appear your dentist's concern will shift to whether your child's budding wisdom teeth will be problematic. If your child has limited room available in their mouth to accommodate their wisdom teeth your dentist may determine it's best to have them extracted. Many dentists try to aim for removal before your child heads off to college because a wisdom tooth extraction could interrupt their studies.
Wisdom teeth removal is a safe procedure performed under either local or general anesthesia. The sooner you have your child's wisdom teeth removed, the better. This is due to the fact younger teeth are less invasive. When these molars are younger their roots are less developed and your child's jaw isn't fully developed yet. This makes for an easier extraction for both your child and your dentist.
If you're concerned of the impact your child's wisdom teeth will have on their oral health set up an appointment with your dentist, one like William J Guthrie DDS PC. If necessary, your dentist will come up with a treatment plan to correct any issues caused by wisdom teeth.