After investing the number of months, or years, it takes with braces to achieve a perfect smile, the last thing you want is for your beautiful smile to be ruined by wisdom teeth eruption. Wisdom teeth, or your third molars, have often been of great debate amongst orthodontists, dentists, and their patients. Adult and child braces patients often question if they should have their wisdom teeth removed before getting braces.
Whether you need to have your wisdom teeth removed before braces depends on a variety of factors. An experienced orthodontist will be able to determine if wisdom teeth removal is required before braces — or if you can have your braces and wisdom teeth without affecting your treatment.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your third molars that sit at the back corners of your jaw. Wisdom teeth were once used to chew hard to eat foods like roots, raw meats, and thick leaves. As humans evolved, our diets changed over time to eliminate the need for the third molars. Each generation, the spaces for the teeth and the jaw itself began to decrease in size. This decrease has resulted in a jaw that no longer accommodates the third molars in most people.
All About Wisdom Teeth Eruption
According to a study conducted in 2013, roughly 35 percent of people are born without wisdom teeth. If you are born with wisdom teeth, they begin to grow around the age of seven as the rest of the adult teeth begin to replace your baby teeth. The age that your wisdom teeth erupt will vary sometime around the ages of 17 to 21, however, for some people, the third molars do not erupt until they are around 25.
For those have wisdom teeth, approximately 60 percent choose to have them removed at some point in their lives, including before the teeth erupt. One of the main reasons that patients undergo wisdom teeth removal is that if there is not enough room for the molars to erupt, causing the teeth to impact. If the teeth become impacted, infections, cavities, overcrowding, and periodontal disease are more likely to occur.
How Wisdom Teeth Affect Braces
Some orthodontists believe that it is best to remove the third molars prior to beginning orthodontic treatment, while others think that wisdom teeth won’t affect the patient’s braces experience. Depending on your individual jaw and orthodontist’s professional opinion, it is possible to have both braces and wisdom teeth.
If there is not enough room in your mouth for the wisdom teeth to grow in, your orthodontist will likely suggest that you have wisdom teeth removal prior to starting treatment. This is because if your wisdom teeth erupt after your treatment, it can undo the smile your braces helped create. Tooth extraction with braces is fairly common and can align your new perfect smile.
In other cases where there is room in the jaw, these third molars may act as an anchor for your orthodontic treatment and should be left in place.
Tips for Wisdom Teeth and Orthodontics
It is generally recommended to see an orthodontist once they are 7 years old. This gives orthodontists time to assess possible treatment needs — and keep an eye on wisdom teeth development. If it is discovered that there are wisdom teeth present, your orthodontist can work with your general dentist to develop a treatment plan to accommodate the wisdom teeth, or make a referral to an oral surgeon for their removal.
While it may be worrisome to your or your child if wisdom teeth begin to erupt after braces, in most cases, as long as retainers are worn correctly any movement of the teeth should be prevented.
If you or your child need braces, but you are concerned about how wisdom teeth will affect your orthodontic treatment process, consult with a trusted orthodontist. Patients in the Raleigh, North Carolina area can contact Dr. Laster at Laster Orthodontics for their questions concerning braces and wisdom teeth. Dr. Laster can answer the questions you have regarding orthodontic care and wisdom teeth removal, and help you create a perfect smile you’ll love.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster’s in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.