Wisdom Teeth & Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Posted on 04/22/2018

Wisdom Teeth & Wisdom Tooth ExtractionYour third molars are more commonly called "wisdom teeth." Usually appearing in the late teens, wisdom teeth often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction.

When teeth lack the space to come through, or simply develop in the wrong place of the jaw and become impacted, problems arise. Thus, it becomes necessary to extract them. Never fear. Wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively common procedure, performed on some five million patients every year. Your trusted Sugar Land and Wharton, TX children's dentists can recommend if this procedure is right for your child.

When Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Necessary?

When your child's wisdom teeth start coming in, your Sugar Land and Wharton, TX children's dentist will conduct a thorough examination and run diagnostic tests such as x-rays or a CT scan to see if the incoming teeth will cause issues in the mouth. Wisdom tooth extraction will be recommended if:

  • The jaw is too small to accommodate all of your child's teeth once the wisdom teeth come in.
  • The wisdom teeth are erupting (coming in) in a crooked orientation.
  • It doesn't look like one or more of the wisdom teeth are going to erupt.

What If You Leave The Wisdom Teeth In?

If your Sugar Land and Wharton, TX children's dentist recommends wisdom tooth extraction, it is in an effort to prevent future dental problems. When your child's jaw is too small for new wisdom teeth then crowding will occur. Crowding can lead to wisdom teeth becoming impacted (that is, unable to emerge from the gums), potentially harming adjacent bone or teeth. Meanwhile, when a wisdom tooth doesn't fully erupt then it has a greater chance of developing bacterial infections. A cyst (a closed, fluid-filled sac) may also form around an unerupted wisdom tooth, which can turn into an infection and injure adjacent bone or nerve tissue. Wisdom tooth extraction can be a simple solution to potentially save your child's mouth from a myriad of dental problems like these.

The Extraction Procedure

Wisdom tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure performed by an oral surgeon and is relatively straightforward. Once your child has been appropriately anesthetized, the gum tissue at the extraction site may need to be opened if the tooth is impacted. The surgeon will then gently remove the tooth. When the extraction is complete, your child may need to have the extraction site sutured (stitched) to aid healing. After the procedure is over your child will rest for a short time before going home.


The recovery period after wisdom tooth extraction generally only lasts a few days. During this time your child should rest to encourage healing and take pain medication as prescribed by your children's dentist. It's normal to experience some bleeding at the extraction site; this can be controlled by gently biting on gauze pads, changing them as needed, and resting with the head elevated on pillows rather than lying flat. Your child can also hold an ice pack on the outside of his or her cheek for a few minutes at a time (for example, five minutes on / five minutes off) as this may help reduce swelling the first day after the procedure. On day two the warm, moist heat of a washcloth placed on the outside of the cheek may make your child more comfortable. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water a few times a day can also help alleviate discomfort.

We recommend eating soft foods for the first few days after a wisdom tooth extraction. On the same note, have your child be careful when brushing his or her teeth or putting anything in his or her mouth until healing is complete. As a whole, be sure to follow the post-operative instructions your oral surgeon gives you; every wisdom tooth extraction is a little different and recovery recommendations are adjusted to make your child feel as comfortable as possible.

Contact Larry Caldwell, DDS & Associates

Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure that many of us go through in order to prevent future dental problems and protect our smiles. If your child is at an age when his or her wisdom teeth are coming in, make an appointment with Sugar Land and Wharton's most trusted children's dentistry, today. We would be happy to examine your child's teeth and recommend the best procedure!