Taking care of your child’s oral health is one of the cornerstones of parenthood. From their first cavity to their last year of braces, you’ve made sure healthy teeth and gums have always been top priorities for your family.
Now that your children are on the verge of adulthood, you might think it’s time to stop worrying about their oral health problems. After all, once they have straight teeth and healthy gums, your work here is done.
That is, until their wisdom teeth come in.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge in teens and adults. They’re called your third molars because they develop between the ages of 17 and 25 — well after the rest of your adult teeth. You have two in your upper jaw and two in your lower jaw.
Because your mouth has almost fully matured by the time your wisdom teeth grow in, there may not be enough room to support them comfortably. As a result, you can end up with impacted wisdom teeth.
An impacted wisdom tooth can feel extremely painful. They often grow sideways, get trapped beneath your gums, or only erupt partially.
Warning signs of impacted wisdom teeth
The signs and symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth vary from person to person, so it’s important to pay attention to sudden pain and discomfort in your mouth.
Here are 3 warning signs of impacted wisdom teeth in teens and adults:
Pain when chewing
Difficulty chewing is one of the telltale signs of impacted wisdom teeth. As your wisdom teeth grow, they may push against your surrounding molars, leading to tooth pain, swollen gums, and inflammation in your mouth.
At first, you’ll likely experience pain the most when you’re chewing. Over time, these toothaches and gum pain can become constant.
Another common symptom of impacted wisdom teeth is swollen gums. Gum pain can be excruciating without treatment, making it difficult to eat, sleep, and even speak without pain. Along with swelling, you may experience bleeding gums as your wisdom teeth grow.
The facial swelling that accompanies wisdom teeth pain can quickly become an emergency if you’re not careful. In some cases, facial swelling often indicates a tooth infection that requires emergency wisdom teeth removal.
In addition to the above symptoms, impacted wisdom teeth can cause headaches, bad breath, earaches, swollen lymph nodes, and halitosis (bad breath).
Treatment for impacted wisdom teeth
The most effective treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is a surgical extraction. This isn’t as nerve-wracking as it sounds!
Once your dentist or orthodontist determines that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, they’ll refer you to an oral surgeon. The Stellar Dental team includes a team of experienced oral surgeons that specialize in wisdom tooth removal.
Your oral surgeon will make a small incision in your gums and use special dental tools to extract your wisdom teeth. Finally, they use sutures to close the wounds, reducing your risk of infection.
Most patients recover from wisdom tooth extraction surgery within 5 to 7 days, but it’s important to keep the area clean and bacteria-free while you heal.
Think you or your child might have impacted wisdom teeth? If so, schedule a visit with the team at Stellar Kids Dentistry and Stellar Family Orthodontics in Mukilteo, Everett, and Mill Creek, Washington. Call today to find out if you’re eligible for a free consultation!