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December brings with it festivities and holidays to bring to a close another year. For your teen, this also means that school will be out of session so it is also a good time to have their wisdom teeth evaluated to see if they need to be removed in the coming year.

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop and are usually developed by the time your teen or young adult is 15-20 years old. Many times they become impacted, which means that there is not enough room for them to erupt.  This can cause a variety of problems that will need to be addressed.

Impacted wisdom teeth can damage the surrounding teeth as well as the jawbone by developing cysts. They can also lead to infection and speed up the progress of gum disease. These problems usually don’t become obvious until patients are older (over 30).  In fact, the main reason we recommend removing wisdom teeth is to stop long-term dental problems from developing.

Removing the wisdom teeth is ideal when the teeth are 1/2 – 2/3 developed. This is usually between age 15-20. Removing impacted wisdom teeth in older patients is more difficult and has a higher level of risk.  At your evaluation, one of our board-certified surgeons, Dr. Bluhm, Dr. Dorsch or Dr. Vandervort will diagnose problem wisdom teeth and make treatment recommendations.

Wisdom Teeth Surgery and Post-Op

Should your teen need to have his or her wisdom teeth removed,  expect to be in the office for one to one and a half hours, typically. Our skilled surgeons will find the anesthetic option that is best for each patient to ensure that the procedure is done comfortably and with as little stress as possible. Afterward, he or she will want to rest at home for the day and have the company of someone who can take care of him or her if needed. We will make sure you have the post-operative instructions and resources needed for a speedy recovery.

The first several days may involve some discomfort, facial swelling, stiffness in the muscles of the jaw, and possibly some oozing of the extraction site(s). In most cases, recovery takes about 5-7 days.

With the holidays in full swing, now may be a good time for you or your teen to have a wisdom tooth evaluation. For answers to your questions, we invite you to call Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to speak with a caring member of our team in Leesburg or Ashburn, Virginia.