Our patients have a lot of questions about wisdom teeth. Why? Because they are so unpredictable. While some patients may not see their wisdom teeth erupt until their early 20s, others may see their wisdom teeth come in their teens. Many patients may not see their wisdom teeth erupt at all! This unpredictability worries some parents as they consider braces for their teens. When it comes to wisdom teeth and braces, in what order should parents seek care? Should wisdom teeth be removed before braces? Will late wisdom teeth ruin their child’s new smile? We’re here to alleviate the anxiety surrounding wisdom teeth and braces. In short, wisdom teeth do not threaten your child’s orthodontic care.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are a permanent third set of molars. They get their name because they typically erupt from the gums when patients are between the ages of 17 to 21 (when they are “older and wiser”). However, not everyone’s wisdom teeth erupt. Evolution, dental hygiene, and evolving appetites have a lot to do with this. Centuries ago, our ancestors needed this third set of molars to help chew the foods they hunted for, which were often tough meats. As we have evolved, food has become easier to eat, and our bodies have adapted.
Do Wisdom Teeth Cause Damage?
In few cases, wisdom teeth can cause damage, but in most cases they are simply not useful. They are hard to reach, so they often do not get brushed or flossed as carefully as the rest of your mouth. Some wisdom teeth come in crookedly. Other wisdom teeth may only partially erupt and cause infection. Wisdom teeth that never erupt may cause pain, tenderness, jaw aches, or even headaches. This is why dentists often recommend patients remove their wisdom teeth.
If patients are experiencing any of the following, it is recommended they visit an oral surgeon to learn more about wisdom tooth removal:
- Pain or tenderness
- Gum inflammation
- Jaw aches, headaches, or earaches.
- Overcrowding teeth
- Cysts or tumors
- Toothache or decay in the wisdom tooth
Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed Before Braces?
For a long time, it was believed that wisdom teeth undo all the progress made by braces. Some dentists and orthodontists recommended patients wait to get braces until their teeth erupted. However, this meant teens and young adults who desperately needed braces to alleviate other oral health concerns were waiting until they were in their mid-twenties to finally get braces.
Since then, science has shown that wisdom teeth have little impact on braces. These teeth do not exert enough pressure to change the alignment of one’s smile. They will not “ruin” the work your braces have achieved. What will? Not wearing your retainer! Failing to do so means your teeth will shift naturally with age, which is why many adults may notice their teeth grow slightly crooked over the years.
Wisdom teeth and braces do not impact each other! If wisdom teeth erupt and cause pain during the braces treatment, they can even be removed while a patient is wearing braces. There is no need to wait for one treatment or the other.
Discover Braces from Exeter Orthodontics
Here at Exeter Orthodontics, we provide braces and Invisalign to teens and adults, whether they have had their wisdom teeth removed or not! Our traditional braces cost only $3,995, inclusive of x-rays, retainers, adjustments, repairs, emergency visits, and more.
To learn more about braces from our team, request a free consultation today.