A lot of patients worry about what will happen if they have braces or Invisalign clear aligners and their wisdom teeth begin to erupt. This is a natural concern because patients will invest a lot of time and effort with their orthodontist, and it would be a shame to have to start the process over. The good news is that Dr. Reddick will cover all the issues related to wisdom teeth as they become relevant. Here’s what patients and parents need to know about wisdom teeth and braces.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the back molars, and they are sometimes called “third molars.” Wisdom teeth aren’t able to serve a purpose in most mouths. Assuming you aren’t missing any other teeth, there are plenty of teeth to chew with not including the wisdom teeth. For the people who have wisdom teeth, they start forming at an average of around age seven. But these back molars usually don’t erupt through the gums until a person is between the ages of 17 and 21. For a small percentage of people, the wisdom teeth will erupt even later, up until about age 25.
This is actually good news for kids undergoing orthodontic treatment. Children typically have their teeth straightened with braces or Invisalign when they’re between the ages of 10 and 14, which is several years before they have to start worrying about wisdom teeth.
Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Even before the wisdom teeth erupt through the gums, they can cause problems for patients. If the jaw is too small for another set of big permanent molars to come in, Dr. Reddick will recommend a wisdom tooth extraction. This is because the wisdom teeth can cause a number of complications if there is not enough room for them. Wisdom teeth can cause pain or infection for some patients when they erupt or earlier, and it is also possible they can cause further orthodontic problems down the road. Not every patient needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. However, your orthodontist in Melbourne will conduct a thorough exam to determine the best course.
There are actually three different paths wisdom teeth can take:
- Wisdom teeth can be “impacted,” which means they are trapped under the gums and bone and won’t erupt;
- They can be partially erupted, in which part of the tooth is visible and part is below the gum line;
- Or they can be fully erupted, in which case they grow in fully.
Impacted wisdom teeth are often removed to prevent pain, infection, dental tumors and other issues down the road. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, so they can lead to bacterial infection and jawbone problems. In both of these cases, wisdom teeth removal will likely be recommended. Even if wisdom teeth fully erupt, they can still cause problems. Dr. Reddick helps his patients decide what is best on a case-by-case basis.
But What About My Braces or Invisalign?
In some cases, your orthodontist in Melbourne, FL will recommend wisdom teeth removal before you begin your treatment with braces or Invisalign. For children, it’s very unlikely that their wisdom teeth will erupt before the adjustments are completed. You should also know that if your child’s wisdom teeth do come in, it’s unlikely that they will cause the teeth to shift, but retainers are always needed to keep the teeth straight, regardless of what the wisdom teeth are doing.
For all of his patients, Dr. Reddick will look at xrays before fitting them with Invisalign or braces. This will help determine whether the wisdom teeth are likely to cause problems during treatment. Wisdom teeth can also make it more difficult to adjust the teeth after they erupt. If the orthodontist thinks there will be any problems caused by the wisdom teeth, he will likely recommend extraction before fitting you with braces or Invisalign.
Here’s some good news: Even if your wisdom teeth do require extraction during treatment, you can still wear braces or use the Invisalign aligners. You may have to take a break from the aligners to let the area heal, but it won’t significantly alter treatment as long as they are restarted soon after the extractions. You’ll still have the perfect smile at the end of the treatment!