By: Sarah Mahoney
Not really, says T. Bob Davis, a dental surgeon and the spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry. Wisdom teeth normally don’t break through the gums until about the ages of 17 to 25, but your dentist will likely start assessing your child when she’s 13. And if it seems likely that the wisdom teeth -- or third molars, as they are clinically called -- will crowd other teeth or cause problems (dentists can predict this using dental X-rays), the sooner they are extracted, the better for your child’s oral health, says Davis.
“It’s easier on both dentists and patients to remove the teeth when the roots are still soft and not fully formed, and younger people heal better,” adds Davis. (He likes to remove the lower set of wisdom teeth in one procedure, at age 14 or 15, followed by the upper set in a separate procedure the following year.) “There’s no point in making a child wait -- it just gets harder as the roots calcify.”
But as common as the procedure is, Davis warns that two things are likely to be different for your child than they were when you were a teen:
Sarah Mahoney is the managing editor of Oral Care and Health Daily. A health editor and reporter, she also contributes to Good Housekeeping, Parents and Prevention.