Ask us anything about oral surgery, dentistry and your health.
How old should my child be when wisdom teeth are removed? Should we wait until they come in and then have them removed?
Third molars (commonly known as the wisdom teeth) begin development around eight years old and start to erupt around 12-14. The average age for preventative removal is around 15-25 years old. This is because everyone develops wisdom teeth at different rates based on genetic and environmental factors. While some people choose to wait, depending on the position in the jaw, wisdom teeth usually never fully erupt which can create numerous problems as an adult including cavities (not seen due to impaction, localized gum defects, and cyst formation).
What is the recovery time for wisdom teeth removal?
Generally speaking 5-7 days of recovery is anticipated. The first 24-72 hours will likely involve swelling and some discomfort. Swelling will usually peak about two days after surgery then subside. Depending on the complexity of the procedure a prescription may be given for pain medication and possibly an antibiotic. Normal activity is generally resumed around one week after surgery.
Does my child need to go to sleep for the procedure?
Intravenous (IV) sedation is a common and safe procedure used to reduce anxiety and enhance comfort for many surgical procedures. IV sedation is optional and is not necessary for many surgical procedures, but will make your child more comfortable during the procedure. All of our doctors have extensive training and certifications which require yearly continuing education in the area of sedation and anesthesia. In some cases, due to the medical history or case complexity the surgeons will utilize medical anethesiologists for the procedure. Our entire surgical team is also trained and certified meeting rigorous standards for patient safety.
Will my child be prescribed a narcotic?
Should I be concerned of these prescriptions becoming addictive? Because of the current national concern about opioid use and abuse, our doctors are careful when prescribing post surgery medications. There is no strong evidence to suggest that correct use of narcotic medications in the acute post operative period will lead to addiction. It is strongly recommended that all narcotics be administered under parental supervision.
What can my child eat or drink after surgery?
Your child is encouraged to eat post operatively. Staying nourished and hydrated is key to a full recovery. Soft foods are recommended such as scrambled eggs, baked fish, and mashed fruits and vegetables. Because your child will be numb for several hours after surgery, avoid hot foods such as soup. Water is the best way to stay hydrated however, do not use straws to drink after surgery.
When can my child brush their teeth after surgery?
Oral hygiene is encouraged post-operatively. Brushing with a soft bristle toothbrush staying on the teeth, perhaps even a child sized one for the first few days. Avoid rigorous spitting or swishing for the first week, however rinsing the mouth out with warm salt water is useful.
When can my child resume sports after surgery?
In general, this depends on the type of sport your child is involved in. All children are encouraged to resume normal activities as soon as they see fit. However, at least one to two weeks are needed before full contact activities are resumed.
What is a dry socket?
Alveolar osteitis, commonly known as “dry socket,” is a painful inflammatory disorder that can develop in an extraction site post operatively. These can develop about 4-6 days after surgery. Dry sockets are usually rare but do require a post operative visit to assess the area. Symptoms include severe one sided headaches, earache, and shooting jaw pain unrelieved by pain medicine.