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December brings with it festivities and holidays to bring to a close another year. For your teen, this also means that school will be out of session so it is also a good time to have their wisdom teeth evaluated to see if they need to be removed in the coming year.

As the last teeth to come in, these third molars in the back of the mouth are fully erupted by the time your teen or young adult is 15-20 years old. This means they could find themselves crowded by the teeth that are already in place. Should this be the case, the tooth may not be able to erupt or function properly. This can result in impaction, which can cause a variety of problems that will need to be addressed.

Impacted wisdom teeth can damage the surrounding teeth as well as the jawbone by developing cysts. They can also lead to infection and speed up the progress of gum disease. Those over 30 may find themselves with dental problems because of wisdom teeth. In fact, the main reason we recommend removing wisdom teeth is to stop long-term dental problems from developing.

Removing the wisdom teeth is ideal by the time your teen reaches their early twenties. If they need to have impacted wisdom teeth removed when they are older, it is harder on them because the complication rate rises and healing can take longer.

Since an evaluation is the best way to determine if a wisdom tooth should be removed, it will need to be evaluated by our dentist, Dr. Heath Hendrickson. With the help of X-rays, he can see whether or not there is enough room for the tooth to come in properly, how the roots are structured, how it will come in and what it might be affecting.

Should your teen need to have their wisdom teeth removed, they can expect to be in the office for one to one and a half hours, typically. Our skilled dentist will make sure your teen is as comfortable as possible during the extraction. Afterward, they will want to rest at home for the day and have the company of someone who can take care of them if needed. We will make sure they have the post-operative instructions and resources they need for a speedy recovery.

The first week may involve some discomfort, with some facial swelling or bruising possible, stiffness in the muscles of the jaw, cracked lips at the corners, and possibly some oozing of the extraction site(s). They should feel better after about five days, however.

With the holidays in full swing, now may be a good time for your teen to have a wisdom tooth evaluation. For answers to your questions, or to schedule a visit, we invite you to call 801-370-0050 if you live in Layton, Provo, or Midvale, Utah.