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.



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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

12 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.

  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

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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 … […]

  2. […] 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 … […]

  3. […] Is it Too Young to Remove Wisdom … – 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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