Oh boy. Let’s take a closer look at one of the greatest myths surrounding orthodontic care. Third molars, otherwise known as wisdom teeth by almost everyone, are a common cause of concern for teenage patients and their parents alike. Will you have to wait until after someone removes your wisdom teeth to get braces? If you have a well-aligned smile already, will wisdom teeth cause crooked teeth?
Wisdom teeth are nothing but a set of molar teeth that erupt in your late teens or early adulthood. Some people will notice they only have two wisdom teeth; others won’t even have any erupt all their life.
For many of us, however, wisdom teeth are a cause for concern because of pain, surgical tooth extractions, and the rumors of tooth malalignment. What’s the take from professionals? Let’s review some of the myths surrounding these molars and what some of the real dangers are.
Will Wisdom Teeth Shift My Teeth?
In short, no. The eruption of your third molars won’t cause a shift in your teeth’ position. Unfortunately, many patients who notice their wisdom teeth erupting also note shifts in their teeth’ position. Still, just because it rains one Tuesday, it doesn’t mean that it will rain every Tuesday.
While there is a correlation between some problems with wisdom teeth and teeth malalignment, there is no clear and direct causality.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t powerful reasons why you’d want to ask a specialist to remove those teeth.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth are a severe issue. Generally speaking, any tooth can become impacted when they fail to erupt and rise above the gum line. Your tooth remains under the gum line causing considerable pain and facilitating an infection.
The infected tissues decay and cause an abscess and endangering neighboring teeth. Patients with impacted wisdom teeth will notice swelling, bleeding, bad breath, and considerable pain.
Please, if you notice any of those symptoms, you should contact your dentist and go to an emergency room as soon as possible to receive the appropriate treatment. Usually, your dentist or orthodontist will know beforehand that your third molars are close to eruption, determine if there’s enough space for their eruption, and recommend tooth extractions whenever necessary to avoid these additional complications. Speaking of which…
Can Orthodontists Remove Wisdom Teeth?
Generally speaking, an orthodontist will work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to remove any wisdom teeth before they create trouble. All dental health professionals have the required training to perform simple tooth extractions, but it’s best to let the pros do their thing. Just as we don’t recommend you get orthodontic treatment with any specialists, we wouldn’t dare invade another specialist’s field of expertise.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), oral and maxillofacial surgery deals precisely with the surgical intervention of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. When we talk about the extraction of wisdom teeth, orthodontists should cooperate with oral surgeons to provide patients with the best care possible.
So, let’s summarize a bit what happens when a patient requires a wisdom tooth extraction.
Why Would I Need Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Your third molars should erupt between ages 17 and 25. This shouldn’t be a problem, but if your dentist or orthodontist notices in your X-rays that there isn’t enough space for their normal eruption, they’ll recommend an extraction. In general, you’ll need to have these teeth removed if:
- You have impacted wisdom teeth. They can’t erupt, remain under the gumline, cause pain, and facilitate life-threatening infections.
- Your teeth are coming in at the wrong angle and pressing against other teeth. When there’s no space for these additional pieces, you should have them removed.
- Even though they erupted, you have cavities in your wisdom teeth and they’re at a hard-to-reach position making it hard to keep them clean.
How Do You Remove Wisdom Teeth?
After your dental health specialist determines you should have those teeth removed by a professional team, you’ll have to discuss the best time to undergo surgery, what type of anesthesia you’ll have, and plan the time you’ll need to take off from work or school to have a complete recovery.
On the day of your appointment, the team will use the anesthesia you discussed and prep you for the process that should last around 45 minutes. In many cases, the specialists will have to cut into your gums to drill out or cut the wisdom teeth. Depending on the type of anesthesia you choose, you might feel the tugging motion, but there will be no pain.
Once the specialist removes all the smaller pieces, they will clean the area thoroughly from any debris. Then, they will stitch the gums and place some gauze to control any bleeding and help promote the formation of a blood clot.
And congratulations! That’s it. Your wisdom teeth are now out and won’t be causing any issues.
Should I Have the Wisdom Teeth Removed Before Braces?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this, but generally speaking, you shouldn’t wait on starting your orthodontic treatment because of fears around your wisdom teeth. Remember, they won’t move your teeth and cause you to lose all your hard-earned results.
When you start your treatment as soon as possible, you’ll help make your treatment easier and shorter. Teenagers should start their treatment early to take advantage of their growing bones.
Adults can have their wisdom teeth removed by a specialist before their treatment but should always consult with a board-certified orthodontist to determine what works best in their case.
Can I Have My Wisdom Teeth Taken Out Whilst I Have Braces On?
Yes. Your orthodontist and other specialists will work together to have your third molars removed and not interrupt your orthodontic care. Besides, your braces won’t interrupt your recovery, so you shouldn’t worry about waiting until after you have your wisdom teeth removed before getting braces on.
Get in Touch With Us
As the best orthodontist Norwalk residents have available, your friends here at Westwalk Orthodontics want you to know that you’re not alone when considering getting the smile you deserve. Our team is here to walk you through it and make it as easy for you as possible.
If you have any concerns about what type of orthodontic appliance to choose, what age is best to start the treatment, what food and drink limitations you’ll need to consider during treatment, and more, you can count on us to help you sort things out.
Set an appointment and give us a visit. We’ll love having you around and helping you achieve that beautiful and healthy smile.