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Wisdom Teeth Removal: What Teens Should Expect

Wisdom teeth show up on your dental X-rays when you're in your mid-teens. You may begin to feel this third set of molars as they push against your back gums.

Wisdom teeth sometimes cause pain, swelling, cavities, or gum disease. When they have to come out it’s usually because:

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  • They’re impacted. Because they sit so far back in your mouth, wisdom teeth can get trapped in your jawbone or gums. This can be painful.
  • They come in at the wrong angle. They may press against your other teeth.
  • Your mouth isn’t big enough. Your jaw has no room for an extra set of molars.
  • You have cavities or gum disease. You may not be able to reach your wisdom teeth with your toothbrush or dental floss.

Many people have their wisdom teeth removed between the ages of 17 and 25. Often, they go to a special dentist called an oral surgeon, who removes the teeth in his office.

Wisdom teeth removal is usually an easy, short process. Your mouth should heal in a few days. You should be able to go back to school or work the next day.

Before Surgery

You’ll meet with an oral surgeon to talk about the removal. You can bring a parent or other caregiver with you to go over the procedure. Use this time to:

  • Discuss any health problems you have.
  • Ask questions.
  • Talk about anesthesia, drugs that numb you for the surgery.

During Surgery

Your surgery should take 45 minutes or less.

Your doctor will use one of these types of anesthesia so you don’t feel anything during the surgery:

Local: Your doctor will numb your mouth with a shot of Novocaine in your gums.You may also breathe nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to relax or even doze during surgery. You should feel alert again shortly afterward.

IV sedation: The doctor will numb your mouth and also give you drugs through a vein in your arm to make you drowsy. You might sleep the whole time.

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