If you’re like most people, you have undergone orthodontic treatment, only to then have your wisdom teeth erupt after your braces have come off. Should you worry that these additional teeth will ruin your smile?
Or, if you haven’t started orthodontic treatment yet, should you wait until your wisdom teeth have come in to have braces put on?
Orthodontist Dr. Nima Hajibaik explains.
Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt, and typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25. The majority of people have them removed because there generally isn’t enough room for them in the mouth.
“I know how hard my patients work to perfect their smiles during their orthodontic treatment,” says Dr. Nima. “Some patients put in 2 years of orthodontic treatment, and when they realize their wisdom teeth are erupting, they worry it will ruin all that work. In rare cases, this can be true, so it is important that you continue to maintain a relationship with your orthodontist, even if you think treatment has completed. This way, when your wisdom teeth begin to erupt, we can determine when and if they should be removed.”
Some people are fortunate enough to have plenty of room in their mouths for these additional teeth. For others, the teeth may partially erupt or become impacted because there is a lack of space for them. In this case, the wisdom teeth should be extracted to avoid an impact on the rest of the teeth.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, nine out of 10 patients will experience an issue with at least one wisdom tooth. The most common problem is lack of space, which can cause them to erupt at unusual angles, to crowd the other teeth, or to become impacted. An impacted tooth will remain in the jawbone and can potentially cause complications.
Most orthodontic work is done in the early teen years, before wisdom teeth generally appear. But while you’re undergoing treatment, your orthodontist can check for your wisdom teeth coming in and can make adjustments, or schedule you to have your wisdom teeth removed, during treatment.
For patients who are undergoing orthodontic treatment in their late teens or early twenties, wisdom teeth need to be assessed carefully to see if it is necessary to have them removed.
How can you know if your wisdom teeth are coming in?
For some, it happens painlessly. But others know they are teething wisdom teeth because they experience pain, have problems opening their jaws and have swollen gums. If you experience any of these problems, you should schedule an appointment with an oral surgeon for a consultation. These symptoms could be the result of impacted wisdom teeth, according to our friends at Dental Studio of Pasadena. If the teeth are impacted, you might need to be placed under general anesthesia to have them removed.
For patients whose wisdom teeth erupt fully, but cause crowding or pain, without impaction, they can be removed under local anesthesia.
During the wisdom tooth healing process, it is important to carefully follow all instruction as given by the doctor to ensure your mouth heals properly.
If you have any questions about how your wisdom teeth could impact your orthodontic care, schedule a consultation with Dr. Nima today.