When your child is in pain and you are unable to find the cause, it can be extremely frustrating. Recurring headaches in children can stem from a variety of sources, such as eyestrain, recurrent sinus infections, and even stress. However, there is one commonly overlooked cause that may surprise you--wisdom teeth.
When you think of wisdom teeth, you may remember having them removed as a young adult or older teenager. But did you know that it's possible for children's wisdom teeth to start developing several years earlier?
Although wisdom teeth usually grow in sometime between the ages of 17 and 22, they can actually come in much earlier. Guinness World Records reports that the youngest person ever to have their wisdom teeth extracted was just under 10 years old.
Painful and swollen gums are only a small part of the discomfort your child may feel when their wisdom teeth begin to develop and emerge. In addition to the expected pain, soreness, and swelling associated with dental concerns, children with emerging wisdom teeth may experience:
- Recurring Headaches
- Aching Jaw
- Ear Aches
- Sore Throat
- Bad Breath
Is Removal Necessary?
Although many people have wisdom teeth that never cause them any discomfort and do not need to be removed, this is less common when wisdom teeth develop in very young children. Quite often in these cases, the wisdom teeth need to be removed because the size of the child's mouth does not leave room for the wisdom teeth to emerge without pain, discomfort, or crowding of the other teeth.
Early Intervention for Better Results
As with older teens and adults, it is best to have wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible once it is determined that extraction is necessary. If developing wisdom teeth are detected early on before they have had a chance to completely develop, removal is generally much easier and comes with a shorter recovery time. This is because the teeth have not had time to develop deep roots into the jaw.
If your child has been complaining of recurring headaches and you have exhausted all of the usual causes, be sure to make an appointment with your child's dentist. By performing a simple panoramic x-ray, the dentist will be able to determine if a wisdom tooth or some other dental issue is the root cause of your child's headaches. If your child's wisdom teeth do in fact need to be removed, the procedure will be performed by the dentist or an oral surgeon, depending on how compacted the teeth are in your child's jaw. Your dentist may also recommend that your child is sedated during the procedure using general anesthesia. This will help make the procedure easier and less stressful on your child as well as allow the dentist to work more freely while your child is unconscious. Contact a dentist, such as Mill Creek Family Dental, for more information about wisdom teeth removal.