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Can Children Have Wisdom Teeth Removed Early?

January 21, 2023 ABC Children's Dentistry

Wisdom teeth, or “third molars,” are, for most children, the last teeth to emerge in the back of the mouth.  Named for the fact that they generally appear once a child has reached adult age, wisdom teeth can actually begin causing problems much sooner than age 18.  In fact, many parents wonder–could some of the problems from wisdom tooth impaction be avoided with earlier removal?

What Is The Best Age for Wisdom Tooth Removal? 

Part of the confusion surrounding the best age for wisdom tooth removal stems from the fact that every case is different.  In general, dentists want to wait until the root of the tooth has developed to two-thirds of its adult diameter.  This means that each child will have a slightly different point at which wisdom tooth removal is safe and effective.

In most cases, dentists prefer to wait until a patient is between 18 and 20 years of age before performing wisdom tooth extraction.  However, there are cases where earlier removal is indicated.  When x-rays or other examinations reveal that a wisdom tooth is coming in at an angle that may affect other teeth, or the tooth is malformed or has other problems, it is sometimes a good idea to do an extraction early.

Reasons to Do Early Wisdom Tooth Extraction 

There are several good reasons to remove wisdom teeth before the age of 18 if a problem is indicated, including:

  • Surgery is easier at an earlier age. In many cases, the younger the patient, the quicker the recovery from wisdom tooth extraction surgery.  Compared to younger patients, older people tend to have more complications during and after surgery.
  • Removing wisdom teeth can improve orthodontics. Before investing in expensive orthodontic treatment, it is important to ensure that the patient’s teeth will remain relatively stable.  This means treating any obvious issues such as impacted wisdom teeth.  This will give better outcomes for future orthodontic work.
  • Wisdom tooth removal improves the health of other teeth. Removing wisdom teeth can improve the health of the patient’s other teeth.  Extraction can prevent tooth decay, misalignment, and dental infections.  Wisdom tooth removal can also prevent cysts, recurring pain and other oral problems.

Making a Good Decision For Your Child

Your child’s oral health depends on you making good decisions about every procedure.  Fortunately, you do not have to make these decisions alone.  With the help of an experienced pediatric dentist, you can learn what you need to know to decide when and how procedures should be performed.

At ABC Children’s Dentistry, we work with parents to ensure that your child’s dental needs are met, no matter what they are.  We can help guide you through the options for sedation dentistry and other methods that make dental procedures comfortable and safe.  With the help of the friendly, professional staff at ABC Children’s Dentistry, you can be assured that your child is receiving the very best dental care.  Give us a call today to schedule your child’s appointment.