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What should I know about my teen's wisdom teeth?

Many teens have wisdom teeth emerge between the ages of 17 and 21. Here, our Smile Town Burnaby dentists share some facts both parents and teens should know about wisdom tooth eruption and development. 

Teens & Wisdom Teeth 

Your child should have all 28 of their permanent adult teeth by the time they turn 13. In some teens, you'll also see up to four more teeth - wisdom teeth, or the third molars. Most children and youth get their wisdom teeth between the ages of 17 and 21. 

That said, these are general rules of thumb and how many wisdom teeth one has can differ from one individual to the next - some people will have one or two of their wisdom teeth come in, others will develop all four, and still others may not have any emerge. 

For some people, these molars don't erupt until after the age of 21, and for others they come in when they are in their early-to-mid teens. 

If your teen does have their wisdom teeth or are feeling their third molars start to emerge, there are some things to keep in mind. 

1. Look for symptoms of an infected wisdom tooth. 

Wisdom teeth can easily become infected, partly because they are more difficult to keep clean than normal adult teeth. Partially impacted wisdom teeth (which we'll cover below) or molars that emerge on an angle are also at risk of developing infection. 

Infected wisdom teeth can lead to:

  • Bad. breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth 
  • Tender, swollen, red or bleeding gums 
  • A swollen or painful jaw

Many types of bacteria collect in the mouth and can build up on wisdom teeth. If these bacteria are not regularly cleaned away, infection can develop and spread to other parts of the mouth.

If your teen's wisdom tooth has developed an infection, our Burnaby dentists can prescribe antibiotics to treat it. 

2. Understand the signs of an impacted wisdom tooth. 

If your teen notices their gums are unusually tender or they are experiencing sudden jaw pain, these are hallmark signs of emerging wisdom teeth. Others may not be aware of erupting wisdom teeth and they will be discovered when a dentist takes an X-ray during a routine exam. 

When wisdom teeth have difficulty breaking through the gumline, this is known as impaction. An impacted wisdom tooth can cause extreme pain. To help reduce inflammation until your teen can see a dentist, they can apply ice to the inside of the mouth. A saltwater inse may also help reduce pain and prevent infection. 

Besides pain, other signs of an impacted wisdom tooth may include: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Swollen jaw area 
  • Recurring headaches
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

These symptoms should go away by the time the wisdom tooth breaks through the gum. If they persist or become extreme, your teen should see one of our Burnaby dentists to have the tooth extracted. 

3. Contact your teen's Burnaby dentists about wisdom teeth concerns. 

Are you and your teen concerned about their wisdom teeth? Many teens experience the discomfort of erupting wisdom teeth and the potential dental issues that can accompany them.

Feel free to contact your teen's dentist at SmileTown Burnaby. We can address issues with impacted teeth and crowding, and carefully monitor their eruption. 

Do you and your teen want to learn more about wisdom teeth? Contact our dentists at SmileTown Burnaby today

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