For those who are wanting to correct the alignment of their teeth, braces are a popular option, but many people are curious about whether they should have their wisdom teeth removed when they get them. Sure, braces are highly effective when it comes to correcting crowded teeth and overbites, but they do take up additional room, so it comes as no surprise why people wonder about this.
The best way to understand whether you should have your wisdom teeth removed while wearing braces, before they get braces, or after having braces is to embrace an in-depth look into the situation and the factors that determine the best approach.
Keep in mind that this guide is only meant to be educational, and you should still speak with your dentist to get a solid determinate of what the best route to take is going to be.
What are wisdom teeth and what do they have to do with tooth alignment?
In the back of your mouth sits the last set of teeth that comes in, formally known as wisdom teeth, they are the third set of molars. Most of the time their growth is discovered through the use of dental x-rays and for a majority of people, they have been known to create problems since one doesn’t always have an adequate amount of space that allows them to grow in without affecting other teeth.
This set of teeth usually comes in during adolescent years (15 to 25 years of age usually but there are times when it can be sooner). For many, wisdom tooth extraction seems to be the most ideal solution to prevent the risk of any further dental complications that are associated with wisdom teeth.
Sure, there is a possibility that they will grow in properly, but more times than not they will only erupt partially from the gum line which is where a majority of issues begin to surface. Some of these issues include, but are not limited to abscessed wisdom teeth, tooth infections, and swelling.
Another problem is that those who are trying to straighten their teeth via the usage of braces or Invisalign find that they don’t have the room in their mouth for wisdom teeth to grow in all of the way. If they do grow in, they may affect the overall alignment of their other teeth. In this case, it brings us to our next area of focus covered in this guide.
How can wisdom teeth affect previous orthodontic treatment?
This is one of the most controversial topics in the world of dentistry, and it’s not something that hasn’t come to surface for no good reason. Every situation is different and so the risk of not removing your wisdom teeth before you get braces has various outcomes.
To get a clear picture of the subject, let’s say that you do have room for your wisdom teeth to grow in without causing any overcrowding of your teeth. The wisdom teeth that grow in can be used as an anchor for when you get braces, providing you with a stronger placement. When this is possible, there is no need to consider wisdom tooth extraction.
However, more times than not, there is a chance that when your wisdom teeth grow in that they could crowd your other teeth. When this happens, your teeth will shift in an effort to accommodate the wisdom teeth that are growing in. If you have had braces beforehand to help you overcome a crooked smile, the results could be reverted causing you to have to straighten your smile once again. It isn’t hard to see that this could make several months of progress go right out the window rather quickly.
As you can see, this creates a lot of room for controversy. If there is a chance that wisdom teeth could cause overcrowding in the future, it is best to remove them before you get braces so that you don’t put the results at risk of being nothing but a sacrifice. However, if there isn’t a chance that this will happen, it might be best just to get braces without having your wisdom teeth removed.
For the best outlook on the situation, you will want to schedule an appointment with your dentist so that they can take a closer look at your situation. Expect to have the recommendation based on a physical look at your wisdom teeth as well as x-rays that can help predict how the growth will happen.
What Determines the Recommendation of Wisdom Teeth Removal?
In the sense of having your wisdom teeth removed before you get braces, your dentist will have a better foundation to work from when fitting your braces. The results will also last a lot longer (if not the rest of your life) when wisdom teeth are removed as this eliminates the risks associated with overcrowding.
Since you don’t get your wisdom teeth until later in life, children and young adults don’t always have this option available to them. If this becomes the case, many dentists will recommend that you have them removed as soon as the eruption is noticed to prevent them from forcing one to take steps backward when it comes to the progress that was made during their previous orthodontic treatment.
A full dental evaluation is usually embraced to decide whether this is the route that you will need to take or if it’s something that you can forego without putting yourself at risk of your teeth becoming misaligned once again. What it boils down to is how your wisdom teeth are expected to grow in and whether there is potential for additional complications to arise when they do.
How to Know If You Are Due for Wisdom Tooth Extraction
We know that you’re probably looking at receiving orthodontic treatment and want to know whether you should have your wisdom teeth removed or not prior to doing so. However, we also know that our reach will end up extending to those who are wanting to know whether they should pursue wisdom tooth extraction even if they don’t have orthodontic treatment in sight.
With that said, there are some tell-tale signs that can help you realize whether this is something that needs to be done or if it’s something that might not be relevant to your needs. These signs have been outlined below for your convenience.
· Bad breath might continue to persist no matter how hard you try to get rid of it by brushing your teeth, chewing gum, or using mouthwash. This could be related to the decay of a wisdom tooth or a wisdom tooth infection. At times, this is also a result of inflammation.
· Damages (cracked teeth or tooth fractures) start beginning to surface. Just like when your teeth shift, this is a result of your teeth pushing against each other in order to “help” with the growth of your wisdom teeth. Crowns or fillings can also be a sign that damage is being caused by wisdom tooth eruption. If this becomes an issue for you, it could also lead to increased pain and/or sensitivity as these are common issues that surface from wisdom teeth.
· Pain becomes persistent within your mouth, and you might not be able to put your finger on exactly where it is coming from. At times, your mouth could even become tender making it uncomfortable for you to eat anything. This could very well be a sign that your wisdom teeth are giving you problems as they erupt or if they have started decaying.
· The back of your mouth may feel like it’s swollen, or your jaw becomes swollen in this area. If this is the case, there’s a chance that it’s the beginning of an abscessed wisdom tooth or infection setting in where your wisdom teeth are located. This is one of the most common signs that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed as the position of them increases the chance that food can get stuck and unable to easily be removed when brushing your teeth.
· You notice that your other teeth may begin to shift on their own, causing them to become misaligned. This happens due to the wisdom teeth erupting from the gums where there might not be room for them to grow in properly. As this happens, the teeth will begin to shift (and sometimes crowd themselves) to make room for them to finish growing in.
The Risks of Not Removing Your Wisdom Teeth
Aside from putting you at risk of further complications when it comes to your overall dental health, there are risks involved when you don’t have your wisdom teeth removed prior to getting braces or immediately after straightening your teeth. With the most obvious risk being that it could mess up the alignment of your teeth as an attempt of making room for your wisdom teeth is made by other teeth.
For those who like to dig into the details of things, there further risks that could arise and require further dental treatment (such as extractions of other teeth, dental crowns, and root canals) that might not have been necessary if you would have had your wisdom teeth removed in the first place.
The reason for these risks coming to the surface is that you will either be wearing dental appliances that are tightly secured in your mouth or using plastic trays to help with the alignment of your teeth. This means that your teeth won’t be able to move or shift like they would be able to naturally since they’re being kept firmly in place to ensure proper alignment during the treatment process.
Many people think that with an orthodontic retainer, it will be easy to keep teeth straight. However, this is not always the case and if your wisdom teeth are left in you are taking the risk of braces not being able to produce the best results possible. Keep in mind that you could have wisdom teeth removed immediately after you have your teeth straightened which will help minimize the risk of your teeth falling back out of alignment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wisdom Teeth and Braces
Can an orthodontist remove wisdom teeth?
For wisdom tooth removal, you will need to see an oral surgeon as it’s an advanced form of tooth extraction that requires specialized experience and knowledge. If your orthodontist isn’t an oral surgeon, they will be able to give you a referral to one.
Can you have your wisdom teeth removed with braces?
There are some cases where wisdom teeth can be removed while you have braces. However, the most common time for wisdom tooth removal is either before you have braces installed or after they have been removed. These times make it the easiest for this type of tooth extraction.
Do braces move your teeth every day?
Yes, but your braces will only be re-tightened every few weeks as the movement is done gradually. They are designed to shift as needed for your teeth to fall into their proper alignment. The movement that happens on a daily basis is very small so it may be hard to physically see the change every day.
Do wisdom teeth need to be removed for Invisalign?
This depends solely on the chance of your wisdom teeth affecting the alignment of your other teeth as well as any other risks that they might expose you to. The only way to truly find out is to have your dentist do x-rays and take a look at the growth of your wisdom teeth to see whether they should be removed or if it will be safe just to leave them alone.
How long after extraction can I get braces?
This could take several weeks, as it depends on the recovery time. Before braces can be put in you will have to be fully recovered from your tooth extraction. Your dentist will most likely schedule check-ups to keep an eye on things and give you a solid time-frame of when you can expect to have them put in.
Is it necessary to remove teeth for braces?
Only if severe overcrowding is an issue will you need to have teeth removed before you get your braces. It is the last resort as dentists want to prevent having to remove teeth unless it is the only option that they are left with.