Wisdom Teeth and Braces Don’t Mix
The third molars at the very back of our jaws still remain a part of our dental makeup. These molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to push through, or “erupt,” from underneath the gum line.
The Problems With Wisdom Teeth
While not everyone has these teeth, those that do potentially face an array of problems. First and foremost, wisdom teeth typically come into a jaw line that is already developed, and in many cases, the jaw doesn’t have enough room for the wisdom teeth without pushing other teeth aside. Eventually, the pressure applied to the other teeth can crowd the entire bite-line and make teeth crooked.
In other cases, the wisdom teeth can’t erupt through the gum because all the other teeth block them. They might even push through sideways underneath the gum directly into the roots of adjacent teeth. In addition to causing teeth misalignment, these “impacted” wisdom teeth can cause a great deal of discomfort and even become infected. In these cases, the teeth need to be surgically removed.
When Wisdom Teeth Conflict With Braces
We typically encourage patients to get treatment in their teen years. This window of opportunity comes after the adult teeth have come in but while faces and jaws are still developing and are therefore easier to shape. Because the effect of wisdom teeth is uncertain, we don’t recommend waiting several years to see what happens with them. But if wisdom teeth do develop after treatment, there is a possibility that these teeth will interfere with the corrected bite. Sometimes wisdom teeth grow in without any problems, but in other cases, we recommend their removal.
Sign up for Surgery
If wisdom teeth do appear on the scene and pose a problem, in most cases removal is not that big of a deal but it does require surgery. The procedure is typically performed in the office of a dentist or oral surgeon. You’ll be given local anesthetic to numb your mouth, and sometimes patients are given general anesthesia if many wisdom teeth are removed at once. After surgery there will be some swelling and pain, but recovery normally takes a few days.