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Wisdom tooth surgery can be an overwhelming experience for your teen. Despite the fact that it is a perfectly normal procedure, teenagers may still feel fearful and self-conscious going into it. Your teen needs all your love and support during this time as they prepare for their wisdom teeth removal. Here are some ways you can prepare them for what’s to come.

Discuss the surgery beforehand

Some teens may balk at having a conversation about a medical procedure, but if they have questions or concerns, it’s important they have an opportunity to voice them. It’s also important they understand while there will be pain, that there will also be ways to manage that pain such as ice and painkiller medications.

Be sure to go over the pamphlets your dentist gives you so that your teen understands the value of rest and cooperation post-op. Try not to instill fear in your teen with this conversation, but rather help them form realistic expectations. Teens can be pretty hard on themselves (and let’s face it, a bit stubborn too), so if they seem particularly anxious about swelling and complications or reluctant to follow instructions, help your teen process these emotions. Articulate to them that if you both work together as a team and follow the healing guidelines your dentist gives you, they should heal up fairly quickly with little to no complications.

Stock up

Help your teen make the best of the situation and lighten up after that initial conversation by shopping together for ice packs and soft, cold foods (think puddings, smoothie supplies, fruit pouches, mac n cheese, soup, etc.) Let them help you pick things out they would enjoy eating and let them get some comfort foods such as popsicles and ice cream.

Make sure you also have pain meds and lots of fun things to keep them occupied while they heal. For example, you could have your teen browse whatever streaming service you currently have and pin shows and movies they would enjoy watching post-surgery, to help distract them from their pain. You could also help them set up a recovery area in the living room with lots of pillows to prop them up. By creating a “fort” of sorts, they can doze and relax all in the same place while still keeping their head elevated.

Provide emotional support

Wisdom teeth removal can be an incredibly stressful ordeal for your teen/college student. Beyond the physical discomfort, they may also fear complications and grow frustrated by the prospect of not being able to do things they typically do or eating foods they typically eat. Reassure them you’ll be there for them and that they will not be recovering alone. Healing won’t take forever and they will eventually feel 100% themselves again! Also, remind them that countless peers have had to undergo the same surgery and came out alright. Don’t forget to express how proud you are of them for being brave.

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