Is it Too Young to Remove Wisdom Teeth at Age 13?

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:

  • Don’t expect general anesthesia. Patients who have general anesthesia – as opposed to sedation and local anesthesia – heal more slowly. What’s more, a recent study found that patients who are given general anesthesia are more likely to develop infections – and that their infections are more severe – than those who are given local anesthesia.
  • Don’t expect a “knockout” pain medication. These days, dentists are less likely to prescribe heavy-duty pain pills. Painkillers such as Vicodin are among the most abused drugs, “and it’s better not to introduce it to kids who are in their teens,” he says, “especially since we now know we can manage pain so much more effectively, alternating ibuprofen (even before the procedure) with less addictive types of painkillers.” But each case is different. If you’re concerned your child is not getting enough pain relief (or worried that it’s too much), talk to your dentist.



About the Author

Writer Sarah Mahoney is a contributing editor for Parents and Prevention. Her work appears regularly in such publications as AARP The Magazine, Family Circle, and Good Housekeeping. Based in rural Maine, she formerly held several top-level editing positions at women's magazines, including editor of Ladies' Home Journal, editor-in-chief of Fitness, and executive editor of Parents.

Comments

19 Responses to “Is it Too Young to Remove Wisdom Teeth at Age 13?”

  1. Sally says:

    I’m 13 years old and my 12 year old molars had grown in by age 8 or so. I think i may be getting my wisdom teeth, only one so far on my lower left side. Its just a large bump and its red and swollen and VERY sore. I noticed the pain a few months back but it stopped and recently started up again. I think it has broke through the gum now because i can somewhat feel a tooth. I just don’t know what to do and I feel like i have my finger in my mouth 24/7 🙁 Help? Advice? Tips? Thanks!

    • Hi Sally,

      All of the symptoms you have referenced do suggest that your wisdom tooth is erupting. It is common for patients to experience pain and swelling when teeth come in. The question is what we do next. You should visit your dentist for a complete evaluation to determine how to proceed. Most dentists recommend extracting wisdom teeth as soon as possible to avoid possible complications down the road. As the article above states, the sooner we get them out, the better.

      • Maria Santos says:

        All 4 wisdom teeth came in and they all hurt badly but there is one tooth in the bottom right side there is what looks like a piece of a tooth coming out behind the third molar and im only 13!
        Answers Please! Thanks!

        • Sam says:

          Hi my name is sam and I am 11 I am randomly getting pain at the very right of my mouth is it possible to get pain at my age of wisdom teeth

          • Hi Sam, wisdom teeth only come in at around age 18 if at all. You may have second molars are coming in now. Should be checked if the pain continues because it could be a cavity in a tooth.

        • Hi Maria, wisdom teeth come in at age 18 or so, not as early as 12-13. Those would likely be second molars now. Wisdom teeth are 3rd molars. If it bothers you a dentist can help now.

          • Samantha says:

            Hi there! I’m 14 and I’ve been experiencing pain and stiffness on my jaw area. I’m not able to yawn or eat certain foods without feeling at least a little bit of pain. On my bottom jaw in the back, I noticed a few weeks ago that the back was coming up more (if that makes sense..) and it has become swollen. Is this a sign that my wisdom tooth is growing in? And if so, should I get it removed soon?

  2. Pay says:

    Hi,
    I am 13. I already got my 12 year molars, and lately I’ve had bad toothaches where my wisdom teeth will come in on my lower jaw. I want to go see a dentist if it’s nothing, but I already have my 12 year molars and I see teeth popping through. IT HURTS. What do I do?

    Pay

  3. steph says:

    So I am getting my wisdom teeth(all 4) removed tommarow they arent fully up yet so they are going into my gums and im only 13 and I really dont think this is safe! Not all 4 at once when im 13 anyways.

  4. Hannah says:

    I am only 13 and have all three of my wisdom teeth and the last one is almost cut all the way through and I have a high pain tolerance so it didn’t hurt very much although it looks really painful and I was just wondering if they are my wisdom teeth or not my mom and dad say they are

  5. Molly says:

    Hi I’m 12 when I was brushing my teeth I noticed I tiny tooth coming in I still have some baby teeth I’m wondering is it one of my wisdom teeth? I thought you are would feel some sort of pain but I didn’t

  6. Jasmine says:

    I am 14 and I have 28 teeth. I think my wisdom teeth are growing in. I was wondering what I should do. People say that your wisdom teeth don’t com in until you are like 17.

    • Wisdom teeth can come in a little early but usually do not. They can be a painful condition once they get near the time they will erupt into the mouth. We see most come in at 17-18 if at all. Many never erupt and become impacted. Removing them at the best time means keeping track of them and doing the surgery when it is easiest for the patient…generally age 16-17.

  7. Kourtney says:

    I am 13 to and will be getting my braces off in less than a month . I saw my X-Ray and they pointed out my wisdom turns out my wisdom are in the same spot were my mouth has been sore . It’s swollen and hurts really bad I tend to punch on it a lot because of the pain. I want them out soon t

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      Hi Kourtney,
      Your may want to talk to your dentist about your mouth hurting as much as it is. It may be that getting your braces off will get rid of some of the pressure and you may feel a whole lot better. Or it may be that your wisdom teeth are just starting to come in, and for a short period of time he or she may prescribe a mild pain-reliever like Tylenol. But you won’t know until you talk to them. I’m guessing they’re probably not going to recommend the “punch on it a lot” approach. I’m just thinking that may not be their number one choice here. But you won’t know until you ask. Write back and let us know what they say…ok??? Thanks!

  8. Gabby says:

    Hello im gabby and im 13 my first two wisdom teeth have come in on the left side of my mouth although you can only see half and they did not hurt but my right side is swollen and I mostly feel the pain while I’m asleep and occasionally when I’m up but no teeth come up on that side and after researching I believe that the tooth is side ways but I’m not 100% positive

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  1. […] Is it Too Young to Remove Wisdom Teeth at Age 13 … – Hi Sally, All of the symptoms you have referenced do suggest that your wisdom tooth is erupting. It is common for patients to experience pain and swelling when teeth … […]

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