Age of Wisdom: Why Some Children Need Wisdom Teeth Removal

Posted on: 24 February 2022

If you've had your wisdom teeth extracted, you probably remember that it wasn't the most pleasant experience, even if it wasn't all that bad. You probably felt a bit flat for a day or two while you recovered, but then it was back to business as usual (although with a healthier smile). You were likely to have been in your late teens or early twenties when your wisdom teeth were removed by your dentist—which is why it might seem odd, all these years later, when your family dentist tells you that your relatively young child needs to have their wisdom teeth removed.

Age of Development

Of course, a young, preteen child won't need to have their wisdom teeth removed, because they won't have developed yet. In most cases, these extra molars erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. It can happen earlier, and a person's ethnicity can play a role in this schedule. For example, those with African ancestry may develop wisdom teeth earlier than those with European heritage. A child can easily develop wisdom teeth while still in their early teens. 

Reasons for Childhood Removal of Wisdom Teeth

Regardless of the age of eruption, not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. If your family dentist has flagged your child's wisdom teeth for removal, it's for a specific reason. What might this be?

  • The (comparatively) early eruption of the wisdom teeth may hinder your child's dental development. There might be inadequate space along the dental arch, leading to all teeth becoming overcrowded. The elimination of the wisdom teeth in turn eliminates this problem.
  • It might be increasingly obvious that your child will need braces in the not-too-distant future. Wisdom teeth removal can make the realignment of remaining teeth more straightforward since the removal can create some much-needed space in the dental arch.
  • Wisdom teeth don't always erupt in the correct position. Misaligned wisdom teeth can apply pressure to surrounding molars and their supporting tissues, meaning that they'll be a source of discomfort until they're removed. 
  • Impacted wisdom teeth (those that remain partially submerged in the gums) are difficult to clean, and so may already be affected by decay (or at least will be extremely susceptible to it in the coming years). In this scenario, removal is a precautionary measure.

It might seem slightly unusual for a child to need wisdom teeth removal ahead of the age where the procedure would ordinarily be performed. Unusual it might be, but it's not all that rare. If your family dentist is suggesting wisdom teeth removal for your child, it's to preserve your child's dental health into adulthood.

Talk to your family dentist if you have more questions. 


Looking younger and fresher

No one ever comes in asking to look older. When they want make an actor look old in a movie they do a few subtle things to age their face, like lighten their eyebrows and yellow up their teeth. That's because the signs of aging don't just affect your skin, they also show in your mouth. A natural bright smile leaves you looking and feeling younger. Cosmetic dentistry is a great way to naturally look younger without painful plastic surgery. If you are looking at getting some cosmetic dentistry this site has great articles about teeth whitening, veneers and other cosmetic procedures.