Here at SBK Orthodontics, we want to make sure that our readers, patients, and neighbors know everything they need to about orthodontics before coming to our office. One of the many questions we get is about the relationship between orthodontic treatment and the eruption of wisdom teeth.
Can wisdom teeth affect your treatment with braces? What happens when third molars erupt? Should everyone have those teeth removed by a team of professionals?
As you may already know, we like to start treatment as early as possible. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends parents should take their kids to the orthodontist as soon as age 7. The reason why we want to start early is to have a record going and detect any problems with their orofacial development as soon as possible and take any necessary steps to remedy them.
Early orthodontics doesn’t necessarily mean getting braces at age 7; in fact, we’d hold back on fixed orthodontic appliances until a bit later in your child’s development. However, starting early can help with many things, such as correcting bad habits.
This is why so many parents worry about the eruption of wisdom teeth. There are many myths suggesting they can shift teeth around and that everyone should have them removed. Let’s take a closer look and determine what’s the best course of action.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
In short, wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars some people get during their late teenage years or early adulthood. In most cases, wisdom teeth won’t erupt fully due to a lack of space.
When you look at some of our patients’ x-rays, you’ll see their third molars are coming in at an angle and almost entirely horizontally. This creates additional problems that require professional interventions.
The only way to know when your wisdom teeth are coming in and how many you have is to get a set of x-rays with your trusted dentist.
Do I Have to Get Wisdom Teeth Extracted by a Professional?
Here’s the thing. If your wisdom teeth are coming in and your dentist says you have enough space in your mouth, you won’t need a surgical tooth extraction. The reason why we hear so many dental health professionals recommend extraction is because any problems with these molars’ eruptions can lead to additional health complications.
If you need to have your teeth extracted, your dentist will give you a rundown of everything you should expect and schedule a surgical intervention with a qualified specialist. Why would you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted by a professional?
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth are the main reason why a dentist would recommend their extraction. In reality, any tooth can become impacted given the right, though unfortunate, set of circumstances.
Impacted teeth are nothing more than permanent teeth that cannot erupt normally from below the gumline. When they stay under the gumline, teeth create an opening that harmful bacteria can exploit. The resulting infection results in pain, swelling, general discomfort, and potentially life-threatening abscesses.
Impacted teeth are generally more susceptible to tooth decay and will likewise promote gum disease as they make it harder to keep good dental hygiene. Ultimately, impacted wisdom teeth can endanger adjacent teeth, oral health, and your overall wellbeing.
Can Wisdom Teeth Shift Your Teeth’ Position?
There is simply not enough evidence to suggest that your wisdom teeth’ eruption will cause problems with your other teeth’ alignment. There are many other reasons why your tooth alignment might shift over time, but third molar eruption just isn’t one of them.
You can rest easy; if your dentist says you will get your wisdom teeth soon, that will only mean a short surgical extraction and plenty of ice cream.
Do I Have to Remove My Wisdom Teeth for Braces?
Ok, so here comes the hard part for many patients and their parents. People usually think that they’ll have to wait until after someone removes their wisdom teeth to make the most out of their orthodontic treatment.
People think that because of the misconception we’re trying to clear out. Since the eruption of your third molars won’t shift your teeth around, you won’t have to fear them ruining your hard-earned results from the planned orthodontic care.
You should instead focus on starting any orthodontic treatment you require as early as possible. Ideally, teenagers begin their treatment during that time due to the ongoing dental and bone development. Their bones are still growing, so it’s much easier to move them around.
It’s not impossible to move teeth to their ideal position during adulthood, but it may prove a little harder, and we like to take any advantage there is so long as it makes your treatment more easy-going, efficient, and safe. Still, adults can also benefit from orthodontics, and you should not hold back from visiting an orthodontist due to your age.
Can an Orthodontist Remove Wisdom Teeth?
Generally speaking, the ideal course of action is to have a dedicated oral and maxillofacial surgeon take care of this procedure. Just as we don’t recommend you get your braces or clear aligners from anyone who isn’t a board-certified orthodontist, we won’t try to make it look as if orthodontists can do everything on their own.
Just as with other dental health concerns, it’s best when your orthodontist works in conjunction with other specialists who know their fields very well. What’s important here is not our ego as specialists but rather our well-being as a patient.
Talk to Your Ann Arbor Orthodontist
The specialists at SBK Orthodontics will love to have you around and help out in any way we can. Don’t worry about those pesky third molars; instead, take advantage of our offer for a complimentary consultation and come for the first time to determine if your wisdom teeth are coming any time soon.
Start your treatment as soon as possible with a team that knows exactly how to let your smile shine, and don’t hesitate to get the beautiful smile you deserve!