Having wisdom teeth removed is a rite of passage for many teenagers and young adults, but sometimes tweens also need the procedure. Regardless of your child’s age, wisdom tooth extraction isn’t a pleasant experience, but as a parent, you can provide aid and comfort so that your child’s healing proceeds well.
Helping your child know what to expect at the dental office and during the recovery period can demystify the procedure and help calm panicky feelings.
Wisdom teeth, the four teeth in the upper and lower corners at the very back of the mouth, come in after the other permanent teeth have formed. Many people don’t have enough room in their mouth for this third set of molars to erupt properly without impacting the surrounding teeth.
When there’s not enough room, the gum tissue around the wisdom teeth can become infected. Gum disease may develop around the adjacent teeth. Teeth are pushed against each other, leaving no room to clean between them.
Our dental experts at Trident Dental put together the following tips to follow to help your child prepare for a wisdom tooth removal.
What to do before the wisdom tooth removal appointment
Assure your child that they will be asleep during the procedure, so they won’t feel any pain during it. At Trident Dental, we always use anesthesia for wisdom teeth removal. You can remain with your child when we administer the anesthesia.
Reassure your child: Let your son or daughter know that you’ll be with them from start to finish. You’ll take them to the appointment, wait in the office until they wake up, and take care of them when they go home.
We give you a list of instructions for before and after the procedure. Go over these with your child so they understand what’s involved in recovery. The recovery period is usually a week or two, depending on the condition of the wisdom teeth.
Part of the instructions include suggested foods your child can eat during the healing process. Plan with your child which soft foods they would like and buy them beforehand.
Because we use anesthesia, your child should have nothing to eat or drink for at least six hours before the surgery. Make sure your child doesn’t eat one last big meal six hours before the procedure because having food in their stomach can cause serious complications with the anesthesia.
What to expect after wisdom tooth removal
Once at home, your child is going to sleep a good portion of the first day. When your child is awake, give them pain medication as we have directed, and follow all written instructions your dentist has provided.
Your teen should use ice packs on their jaw during the first couple of days. After the first 24 hours, we may recommend warm salt-water rinses and/or antiseptic mouthwash.
Introduce liquids first, such as jello and broth. Then move to semi-soft foods. Perhaps your teen loves protein shakes with yogurt, blueberries, and bananas. This is a perfect time for the “white diet,” including oatmeal, soft pasta, and mashed potatoes. Heed the instructions and make sure your child doesn’t sip through a straw but takes small sips from a cup or spoon.
Having read the pre- and post-procedure instructions, your child knows that swelling in the jaw is likely to be most prominent on the third day; it should recede after several days, as should any bruising.
Your child can look forward to engaging in normal activity after a week or two unless we advise otherwise. Put a fun activity on the calendar to celebrate the end of recovery.
Call Trident Dental today or request an appointment online for all of your family’s dental needs.