When adults and teens finally decide to straighten their teeth, one question they often have is how their wisdom teeth will get factored into the process. Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth grow at the back of the mouth and generally appear between the ages of 17 and 21 years.
These teeth do not serve a functional purpose as they aren’t relied upon for chewing. However, this does not mean that they will cause problems.
Numerous myths often revolve around how the third molars impact the process of teeth straightening. In this detailed guide, we will help you separate facts from fiction.
5 Common Wisdom Teeth Scenarios
Dentists have theorized that evolutionary processes have changed our jaws. As our diets changed, our foods became easier to chew, and dental care & hygiene improved, our jaws have gotten smaller. For this reason, most people often deal with the following scenarios:
- The wisdom teeth come out perfectly.
- The wisdom teeth have a gum flap covering them.
- They come up at an angle – that is, there isn’t enough room in the mouth to accommodate them.
- They stay hidden below the gum’s surface.
- No wisdom teeth come up.
When to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth Before Orthodontic Treatments
Whether your orthodontist is using invisible teeth aligners or dental braces for teeth straightening, he/she will always consider your wisdom teeth before initiating the orthodontic treatment. In cases where your jaw has enough room for the wisdom teeth, your orthodontist will recommend leaving the teeth in place.
However, your orthodontist may recommend wisdom teeth removal in cases where:
- One or more of your wisdom teeth are trapping food and causing cheek and gum infections.
- Your wisdom teeth are trapping food and causing the decay of second molars. Also, the trapped food could be causing wisdom tooth decay.
- Your wisdom teeth are extremely decayed and it is impossible to restore them.
- You have a cyst or infection near one or more of your wisdom teeth.
- Your wisdom teeth are causing pain.
- Your wisdom tooth is impacted or growing at an angle towards your second molars.
What to Expect If You Need Wisdom Teeth Extraction Before Teeth Straightening
If your orthodontist recommends the removal of wisdom teeth ahead of the orthodontic treatment, understanding what to expect can ease anxiety about the entire procedure.
Many dentists perform the wisdom tooth extraction procedure in their offices. However, in cases where patients have a deeply impacted wisdom tooth, the dentist may send him/her to an oral surgeon.
Depending on how complicated the procedure will be, your dentist may use sedation or a local numbing medication. If your dentist uses sedation, you will sleep through the whole wisdom tooth extraction procedure.
When using a local numbing medication, the dentist will apply a numbing gel to your gums before administering an injection around each wisdom tooth he/she will be extracting. You will remain fully awake. However, while you may feel a sensation of movement and pressure on your gums, you won’t feel any pain.
During wisdom teeth extraction, your dentist will make a small incision into your gum line to expose both the wisdom tooth and bone. Next, he/she will pull out the wisdom teeth whole or in pieces.
Your dentist will then disinfect the site and close the wound. You may need to place gauze over your wound to stop the bleeding.
What Happens If Wisdom Teeth Grow After Teeth Straightening
When parents are considering teeth straightening for their kids, they often wonder whether future wisdom teeth development will affect orthodontic treatment. Future wisdom teeth growth does not affect teeth straightening.
You do not have to wait until your wisdom teeth develop to initiate your orthodontic treatment. A large number of first-time orthodontic patients finish their teeth straightening procedures before their wisdom teeth develop. The third molars, however, do not pose any risk to the teeth’ alignment after straightening.
Wisdom teeth generally exert a very small amount of force. For this reason, they won’t push your teeth out of the way.
The wisdom teeth will only break in if your jaw has enough space for them. If the jaw does not have sufficient space, the third molars will either break in partially or fail to break in at all.
If your wisdom teeth need to be removed in the future, the procedure won’t disrupt the work done by your orthodontist. If your teeth move after working with a team like Straight Teeth Invisible, this is usually a result of natural shifting – this process, however, can be prevented by wearing a retainer.
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All articles are either written by, or content checked by an ex-General Dental Council (retired) registrant. Information in these articles should not be taken as dental advice and are for general information only, you should always seek advice of your local dentist, if you do not have a local dentist you might like to search our register.