Wisdom Teeth Removal Scottsdale AZ
Learn what you need to know about wisdom teeth removal for your child—when it is needed, how it works, and what to do afterward.
Do You Need Emergency Wisdom Teeth Removal?
If your child needs an immediate tooth extraction, not just for a wisdom tooth, call us right away at (480) 422-4544 to schedule an appointment.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
The wisdom teeth are the third molars and the last set of molars that will emerge in your child’s mouth. Wisdom teeth erupt typically between 17 and 21 years of age.
Why Remove a Wisdom Tooth?
Wisdom teeth can encounter problems for several reasons. Here are three of the most common:
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impaction describes what happens when a wisdom tooth cannot come out properly. This can be because other molars might be blocking it from emerging at all, or a partially erupted wisdom tooth is positioned at an angle that causes it to emerge into the side of an adjacent molar.
How do you know when a wisdom tooth is impacted? Symptoms and other problems can include:
- Mouth pain in the vicinity of the wisdom tooth
- Tooth decay or gum tissue infection in a partially erupted wisdom tooth
- Damage to secondary molars caused by the impacted wisdom tooth pressing against them
In some cases, an impacted or partially erupted wisdom tooth can lead to the formation of a cyst, a non-infectious, fluid-filled abscess that forms within the jawbone. Left untreated, a cyst can become destructive of bone mass surrounding the wisdom tooth and its adjacent molar, which can make removal of the wisdom tooth necessary.
Because wisdom teeth are the furthest back in the mouth, sometimes it can be hard to keep good dental hygiene with them by brushing and flossing. This can lead to tooth decay or infection of the gums around the tooth that can become severe enough to require extraction.
Sometimes your child’s mouth might not be big enough to hold all 32 permanent teeth. Because the wisdom teeth are the last to arrive, if they are not impacted their eruption can put pressure on the teeth in front of them. This in turn can lead to those teeth becoming damaged over time.
When is a Good Time for Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Of course, if your child is experiencing any of the wisdom teeth problems above, a good time to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric dentists is right now.
Sometimes, though, waiting for problems to manifest themselves through painful symptoms may not be necessary. This can be true, for example, if the dentist finds a latent problem that will likely cause trouble later. This is often the case with impacted wisdom teeth; the best time to remove them can be before their roots have fully formed.
We do not, however, recommend removing wisdom teeth as a preventative measure without the need to avoid an actual potential problem. Wisdom teeth are not always “problem” teeth, and if they can develop normally then they should be left to grow normally.
What is the Procedure to Remove a Wisdom Tooth?
Wisdom tooth removal is a routine oral surgery procedure that an oral surgeon or your child’s dentist can perform. We break down the surgery process into three parts: before, during, and after tooth extraction.
Before Extraction Surgery
It is usually unnecessary to prepare far in advance of the extraction. Before wisdom tooth extraction we will do an oral examination of your child’s mouth. This may include taking some x-ray images. If something happens that will prevent your child from making the tooth extraction appointment, then we ask that you call us to let us know as soon as possible so we can reschedule.
Generally, your child should not eat or drink anything during the six to eight hours before the surgery, as having an empty stomach is important for safe administration of anesthesia before surgery begins. Note that if your child does not follow the dentist’s instructions, we will likely need to reschedule the extraction.
Also, if your child is taking any medications, then we need to know what they are so we can minimize the risk of any adverse medication interaction with the anesthetic.
During Extraction Surgery
You will need to accompany your child to our office on surgery day as we go through the removal process:
We offer three levels of pain medication for wisdom tooth extractions, depending in part on your preferences and possibly on necessity.
- Local anesthetic: Local anesthesia is the lowest level of pain relief we use. This involves numbing the mouth area at the extraction site with one or more injections. Your child will be awake during the entire extraction procedure but should not experience any pain during it.
- Sedation: Sedation is a mid-level anesthetic that we apply intravenously in addition to a local anesthetic. This anesthetic will result in your child remaining conscious during the extraction, but at a reduced level; he or she may have little memory of the procedure afterward.
- General anesthetic: In some cases, we might use general anesthesia for your child. This level of anesthetic will result in your child being unconscious during the extraction. We will also apply a local anesthetic to minimize pain after the extraction is done.
Extracting the Wisdom Tooth
The tooth extraction begins with an incision at the site of the wisdom tooth to be removed. Then we will extract the tooth, clean the extraction site, and then close it again. Sometimes this will require the use of dental stitches. If we do use them, they will dissolve on their own in 3 to 5 days.
The last step is to put a gauze pad over the extraction area.
The entire procedure usually takes no longer than 90 minutes, including pre-and post-surgery time.
After Extraction Surgery
After the surgery is over and the anesthetic begins to wear off, your child will experience some minor gum swelling and discomfort. Often non-aspirin over-the-counter pain relievers, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen will be enough to take care of this.
We advise against using aspirin to moderate pain and discomfort after a wisdom tooth extraction because of the higher risk of bleeding at the site when aspirin is used.
It can also help to reduce swelling for your child to hold an ice pack against the cheek next to the extraction site.
We will also prescribe pain medication for this period just in case, but we recommend using a non-prescription medicine first.
What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal
In the days following the extraction surgery, to promote the healing process we suggest that your child eat soft foods (think of the consistency of mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs) or soups and avoid foods that are hard, chewy, or sticky. Very hot or spicy foods, or very cold foods like ice cream, can also cause discomfort.
It can also be a good idea during this time to have your child take a nutritional supplement to make sure that any temporary diet change does not lead to any vitamin or mineral deficiencies that can slow healing at the extraction site.
As for beverages, the best ones are those that are cold but not ice cold, or warm but not hot. We recommend not drinking beverages that contain caffeine or that are carbonated and avoid drinking using a straw.
For the rest of the day of surgery, it is a good idea for your child to rest. Starting the day after the extraction, resumption of normal activity will usually cause no problems. We do recommend, though, that your child avoids hard physical exertion, like exercising or participating in sports activities, as they might loosen the blood clot that forms at the extraction site and that is part of the healing process.
Post-Extraction Dental Hygiene
For the first 24 hours after the wisdom tooth extraction, your child should avoid doing anything that might loosen the blood clot at the extraction site like tooth brushing or flossing.
Brushing and flossing are usually permissible beginning on the second day after surgery, but we still suggest that it be done gently for the first week and with care not to brush the blood clot.
Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water during this time is also a good post-surgery practice during the first week post-surgery.
FAQs About Wisdom Teeth Removal
When is the best time to have wisdom teeth removed?
When to extract a wisdom tooth depends on several factors.
For example, is the wisdom tooth presently causing pain or discomfort? Is the development of your child’s nearby teeth at risk if a wisdom tooth is not removed? We will evaluate with you and your child the unique circumstances you face when helping you decide when the best time will be.
Are there any risks inherent to wisdom teeth removal surgery?
Wisdom tooth removal is usually uneventful, but like most any surgical procedure, it is not entirely risk-free. Sometimes during the surgery blood vessels and nerve endings can suffer damage that can cause temporary bleeding and numbness; in rare cases, about one percent of the time, this can lead to permanent damage.
Other possible risks include infection at the extraction site, often because of poor oral hygiene that allows food particles to become trapped there, or a condition known as “dry socket” in which the blood clot that forms after the extraction comes loose.
What might happen if wisdom teeth are not removed during teenage or young adult years?
The longer a problem wisdom tooth remains in place, the more oral health trouble it can cause as its root grows and your child’s jaws develop and strengthen. This can make extraction more difficult, increases the risk of complications happening during the surgery, and can require longer recovery time.
How long is the extraction procedure likely to last?
The tooth extraction itself can take from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on factors like how many wisdom teeth need removal. Your child will usually be done with the procedure in no more than 90 minutes.
How many wisdom teeth need to be removed?
This depends on your child’s unique circumstances. Sometimes a single tooth will need extraction, in other situations all four wisdom teeth may require removal. We will consult with you over the specific needs for your child before the extraction.
What other dental treatments may be needed after wisdom tooth extraction?
Most of the time no follow-up appointment or procedure will be needed after wisdom tooth extraction. If, though, your child experiences persistent mouth pain, swelling, or numbness, or bleeding for more than a day after the extraction surgery, then call us to see if a follow-up appointment will be required.
How long does it take to completely heal and return to normal activity?
Typically, your child can resume normal activities—not strenuous ones—the day after the extraction. We suggest waiting at least one week before resuming full activities, including exercise, or participating in sports.
How much does wisdom teeth removal cost?
The cost of wisdom teeth removal depends on variables including how many must be removed, the seriousness of the underlying impaction or misalignment, and the kind of anesthetic or sedation is used.
In the Scottsdale-Phoenix area, a single wisdom tooth removal can run from $200 to as much as $1100, or about $600 to $2500 to extract all four. If you do not have dental insurance for your child, we can work with you to find an affordable monthly payment plan.
Does insurance cover wisdom tooth removal?
Dental and health insurers have varying policies about what kinds of wisdom tooth removal they will pay for. We recommend that you consult with your insurer to learn about its particular coverage options and limits.
Are there any potential side-effects to wisdom tooth removal?
The side effects of wisdom teeth extraction include some swelling in the mouth and cheeks. Due to this and post-surgery soreness, your child may have difficulty opening his or her mouth for a day or two but after that any pain should subside.
If, though, pain persists or returns—and especially if does so with bad breath or swelling in the mouth and gums—this could be a sign of infection. If this happens, call us right away.
Call Us Today for Wisdom Teeth Removal in Scottsdale
Wisdom teeth are not always problem teeth, but when they are, they can cause your child much unneeded pain and discomfort in the short term and possibly more serious consequences later if left untreated. If you live in Arizona in the Scottsdale-Phoenix area, our pediatric dental offices are convenient to where you are. Don’t wait until your child is in pain.
Our regular office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:00am to 5:00pm and from 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays. We also offer Saturday office visits by appointment. You can call us at (480) 422-4544, or if you prefer you can arrange for a consultation online.