Revitalize Dental Implants knows that Orthodontic care is a large investment, and not just in financial terms. Achieving proper alignment of the teeth with braces and other orthodontic work can take years of effort, and once treatment is concluded, retaining the results throughout the years to come will require careful maintenance and care. Wisdom teeth can be a concern if they are improperly aligned, impacted or will cause crowding, endangering those results.
For this reason, if you are currently planning orthodontic work, are wearing braces or have already had your teeth straightened, it is wise to be sure that they are monitored very carefully to ensure that, when wisdom teeth removal is necessary, it is done early – before your orthodontist’s work is ruined.
Wisdom Teeth and Braces
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in the human mouth, typically emerging between ages 17 and 25. While they do, in some cases, emerge straight and strong, most do not. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), nine of every ten people who develop wisdom teeth will have at least one that is problematic.
Generally, the problem is that there simply isn’t enough room in the jaw for these molars, forcing them to emerge at odd angles, crowd adjacent teeth or become either partially or fully impacted, which means trapped in the jawbone or beneath the gum line. These issues can lead to a variety of dental problems, such as erosion of adjacent teeth, infection, gum disease or the development of cysts, among others.
Any such complications have the potential to interfere with ongoing orthodontic treatment or spoil results in patients who have already completed treatment with braces.
When is Wisdom Teeth Removal Optimal?
Most orthodontic work is done in preteens and teenagers, typically before wisdom teeth become an issue. When this is the case, orthodontists will usually do a thorough examination as braces are removed to check on the progress of wisdom teeth development and determine whether there is sufficient space in the jaw for them to emerge successfully.
If signs of crowding, impaction or other problems are evident, wisdom teeth removal will certainly be recommended. In some cases, if third molars are emerging immediately after the completion of orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may advise removal to ensure against displacement of newly positioned teeth. For patients who have orthodontic work in their late teens or early twenties, wisdom teeth are often examined and, if necessary, removed before that work begins – either due to potential problems with the third molars or simply to allow room for the desired tooth movement.
Of course, whether wisdom teeth removal is necessary and when it is best done is a determination that can only be made after a thorough evaluation of your particular circumstances, done by your own dental care team. However, given the high probability of problematic wisdom teeth, chances are good that they will, at some point, need to be extracted.
If wisdom teeth removal is recommended, earlier is better – especially if you’ve already invested in several years worth of orthodontic care. Catching them before roots have become firmly anchored in the jawbone can make extraction easier, reducing complication risks and making both the procedure and the recovery period more comfortable.
Photo Credit: Hector Landeata