Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed Before Braces?
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are third molars that tend to develop in the teens or early twenties. They are the last teeth to develop, and their timing is what earned them the name “wisdom teeth.”
However, their name can often not live up to reality.
There are cases in which these teeth come without any danger to other teeth or the jaw. However, these teeth often cause problems on their own as well as to the surrounding teeth. These problems include: overcrowding the mouth, difficulty with oral hygiene leading to cavities and periodontal defects as well as can lead to life-threatening infections.
When wisdom teeth grow, they can create a lot of pain in the mouth and jaw since the jaw usually cannot make room for them so late in life. The surrounding teeth often become at risk when these teeth erupt and there isn’t enough room for them. For this reason, it is common to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth
Third molars can cause a lot of problems. In some cases, they are fine to stay; however, typically, they are complicated by impaction or inadequate arch space. .
Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that grow in a crowded space, meaning they tend to push on nearby teeth. In some cases, they don’t even leave the gums completely because there’s simply not enough room for them to grow upwards. Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are:
- Pain, swelling, and sensitivity near the tooth or jaw
- Pain when moving the jaw up or down
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
These symptoms tend to be unbearable. Dental professionals would recommend removing wisdom teeth once they are noted to be impacted, malpositioned or not having adequate room for proper eruption. Find more information from us about wisdom teeth.
How Do Wisdom Teeth Affect Braces?
Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, complicates the question of when to have your wisdom teeth removed.
As mentioned before, wisdom teeth occasionally have enough room to come in without any risk. In this case, the third molars may stay and act as an anchor for braces treatment.
However, having braces while your wisdom teeth are coming in can be risky. Braces prevent your teeth from moving, meaning that the pain and discomfort from impacted teeth can become extreme since the nearby teeth will not move.
In some cases, when wisdom teeth erupt, they can be malpositioned next to existing teeth. The malpositioned wisdom tooth may cause nearby teeth to get cavities since there isn’t enough room to keep them clean which can lead to needing other procedures such as root canals, dental crowns as well as extractions.
Therefore, it is recommended that wisdom teeth be removed before braces.
Since braces treatment is meant to correct malpositioned teeth, the addition of a wisdom tooth can sometimes complicate the orthodontic treatment process. Many orthodontists will recommend that a patient have their wisdom teeth removed before braces treatment.
The good news is that when wisdom teeth first begin to grow, there is little risk. If caught and treated early, much of this pain can be avoided. Be sure to discuss with your orthodontic team and visit them often.
Preventing Eruption Before Braces
It is important to discuss a treatment plan before wisdom teeth emerge. A wisdom tooth extraction can sometimes be performed while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Wisdom teeth are the last of the adult teeth to come in, so it is best to monitor closely between the ages of 14 and 21.
This is not always the case, so it is important to protect your orthodontic care by checking in with your dentist or orthodontist about wisdom teeth development.
It may be the case that you have your wisdom teeth extracted before braces are started. Everyone’s mouth is different, so be sure to check in with your orthodontist and oral surgeon. If you are having your wisdom teeth extracted, you can expect to wait about two weeks before beginning orthodontic care with braces.
Wearing Braces Before Wisdom Teeth Extraction
A lot of children begin to wear braces much before the question of wisdom teeth comes into the picture. Braces are designed to hold teeth straight as the patient grows in order to correct crooked teeth.
As long as your orthodontic care team is watching closely before wisdom teeth erupt, there is little to no risk of putting braces on before having wisdom teeth removed.
It is important for teens and young adults wearing braces to monitor wisdom teeth. Every mouth is different, so your care team should always be involved and create a treatment plan should wisdom teeth emerge.
The Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics has published an article about third molar extraction while undergoing orthodontic treatment, detailing that while the “right time” for wisdom teeth removal is debated, it is often recommended to protect orthodontic treatment and prevent the patient from experiencing problems later on.
Just be sure to come in for a consultation for wisdom tooth extraction before they start causing problems. The sooner, the better.
What If I Like My Wisdom Teeth?
This is pretty uncommon. However, if your wisdom teeth erupted without any problem, then your braces may anchor onto them and you may be willing to keep them with no issue.
It is important to have this conversation with your orthodontist and oral surgeon on deciding whether or not to keep them.
According to the American Dental Association, wisdom teeth may change position as you age, so they must continue to be monitored if they are kept. If they begin to cause you any discomfort, then it may be recommended to have the wisdom teeth pulled.
How to Move Forward
Your care provider at Buck and Phillips Oral Surgery should be involved in helping you determine the timing of having your wisdom teeth extracted.
As you move forward with braces, be sure to monitor progress with your care team.
It is important to have a consultation to discuss wisdom teeth removal. The most common question is “If they are not bothering me why do I need them out?” The simple answer is to get them extracted before they cause problems. Come for a consultation at Buck and Phillips Oral Surgery to decide what is best for you.