As your teenager gets closer to 18 years of age, Dr. Perusini will advise taking a special x-ray called a panoramic radiograph to assess the position of your teen’s wisdom teeth (also known as third molars). The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons advises that the decision to extract or keep the third molars should be made by 25 years of age. Strong indications to remove the third molars include:
- If the teeth are associated with some form of pathology (e.g., cyst or tumor),
- If the teeth are decayed,
- If there is soft tissue infection around the teeth (also known are pericoronitis),
- If the teeth are plagued by gum disease (also known as periodontal disease),
- If the teeth are negatively affecting the adjacent teeth or bone, and
- If the teeth are not properly positioned or non-functional.
The procedure, itself, can be quite daunting – both for the teen and his or her parents. Dr. Perusini will take the time to inform your family about the surgery, its risks and benefits, and the potential complications that may follow. It is important that both you and your teen appreciate the potential complications. These complications are related to:
- A patient’s health,
- The location of nerves around the third molars,
- History of temporomandibular joint disease (the jaw joint),
- If the third molars are associated with some form of pathology (e.g., cyst or tumor), and
- The position and angle of the third molars in the bone (how deeply they are impacted).
If extractions are indicated, and depending on the difficulty of the case, Dr. Perusini may offer to remove the wisdom teeth himself OR refer you to a trusted oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Dr. Perusini will also discuss sedation options during the consultation.