Will Wisdom Teeth Mess Up My Braces?
If you’re like most people in their late teens or early 20s, you had braces not too long ago. Most people wear braces at some point between the ages of 12 and 17, correcting imperfections like crowding and overbite that can cause tooth and jaw problems later in life. It’s not longer after your braces come off that your wisdom teeth start erupting. These vestigial third molars don’t come in until young adulthood, and because they create more problems than they solve, they’re usually removed.
Can new wisdom teeth make my teeth crooked?
In the past, wisdom teeth were often removed because it was thought that they would create crowding. The reasoning was that as the new teeth came in, they would push on the teeth in front of them, potentially disrupting normal orthodontic alignment. Recently, it’s been discovered through long-term studies that people’s teeth drift forward over time, whether or not they have wisdom teeth.
Although wisdom teeth do not cause crowding in the front teeth, as was previously thought, they still cause more problems than they solve. They can still cause crowding among the back teeth. Although this isn’t necessarily readily visible, it can still cause jaw problems and other oral health issues.
If wisdom teeth are not removed, they could potentially become impacted, leading to other problems including:
- Bone defects and soft tissue defects behind your second molars
- Root resorption of second molars
- Crowding of the back teeth
- Cysts or tumors around the impacted teeth
For these reasons, regardless of their effects on orthodontic results, wisdom teeth are removed in nearly all patients.
Your Teeth Change as You Age
Although wisdom teeth won’t undo the effects of braces, your teeth and bite still change as you age. As your teeth begin to show signs of wear during your twenties, it can deepen your bite, causing your teeth to overlap more. The teeth also shift forward as you age, for reasons that still aren’t fully understood.
One of the best ways to lessen these effects of age is to wear your retainer continuously throughout young adulthood. Long after your braces have been removed, you should still be wearing your retainer at night. This helps protect you against these ongoing changes.
I have braces or Invisalign, but I also have wisdom teeth erupting. How will this affect my outcome?
You can still get your wisdom teeth removed if you’re wearing braces. This happens fairly rarely, but it’s completely possible. Your orthodontist can provide further advice about the timing, as well as whether they need to be removed at all. If they’re neither misaligned nor impacted, extraction isn’t necessarily an immediate concern. However, it’s usually still recommended.
So do I really need to get my wisdom teeth extracted?
Wisdom tooth extraction is necessary immediately if the teeth are impacted, meaning they’re trapped beneath the gumline, or if they’ve erupted with the wrong alignment. Impacted wisdom teeth cause pain, infection, shifting or loosening of surrounding teeth, and cyst formation in the jaw.
If your wisdom teeth need to be extracted, you may be referred to an oral surgeon. However, many dentists also provide the surgery. The procedure is carried out under either local or general anesthesia, and discomfort and pain persist for a few days afterward. It’s a relatively minor procedure with minimal risk of serious complications.
Still have questions?
Still not sure whether you should get your wisdom teeth removed, or if you need to wait until after your braces come off? Call us anytime at Dixon Ortho, or ask your doctor at your next appointment. Wisdom teeth won’t undo the corrections that your braces made, but they still cause a lot more problems than they solve.