Wisdom Teeth and Braces

There are many questions about how wisdom teeth affect your braces or other orthodontic treatment. Will they reverse all that work that braces did for you if you don’t remove them soon enough? Can you get them extracted while wearing braces or should you wait? What if they’re impacted; does that make a difference? Don’t worry! We get a lot of those questions at Dillehay Orthodontics, and it’s completely understandable to be worried about how your wisdom teeth can affect the success of your orthodontic treatment. You wouldn’t want all of that time and money spent to go to waste if it will just get messed up later! But surprisingly, there’s actually very little to worry about with wisdom teeth and braces. Let’s take a look at some of the questions themselves and break down the answers so that you know exactly what to expect from wisdom teeth removal with braces.


Will wisdom teeth have an effect on my smile?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 21. Many patients who already had some orthodontic work will start to notice that their teeth can start to shift around this time, but is it really caused by wisdom teeth?

Most studies show that wisdom teeth are not the culprit! This may be hard to believe since we know that wisdom teeth grow in sideways and most assume that they put so much pressure on their teeth that they have to have had some effect on the straightness of their teeth. However, researchers conducted a study where they put sensors in between the teeth of patients with wisdom teeth and those without. They found that there was no noticeable difference in pressure of someone with and without wisdom teeth.

But if that’s the case, then what is causing your teeth to shift?

There’s a really simple reason that our teeth shift over time: we age.

Teeth naturally start to shift a little as you age, even if you’ve already had orthodontic treatment. They may begin to slightly overlap, which can push them forward. The upper teeth may also press the lower teeth to turn in a little bit towards the tongue. This typically happens right in the ages of 17-21, which is right when those wisdom teeth usually make their appearance. Your jaws are going through their last growth spurt during this time, and that causes our teeth to start to shift as well. Also, not to mention this is also typically the age that patients stop wearing their retainers. This is why all orthodontics – Dillehay Orthodontics, included – stress that you should keep wearing your retainer well after treatment! It’s the best defense you have against shifting teeth!


What to look out for with wisdom teeth

Although wisdom teeth don’t affect your straight teeth, there are some things about wisdom teeth that you should know and look out for if yours are growing in. These problems can affect overall oral health:

– If your wisdom teeth only partially emerge, they can leave a flap of skin which partially covers the tooth itself, and that can potentially lead to tooth decay and gum infections.

– Sometimes wisdom teeth won’t erupt; this may be because there isn’t enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to grow in correctly. These wisdom teeth are impacted and they can get stuck in your jaws and gums, which can sometimes cause discomfort.

– If your wisdom teeth are impacted, then they can sometimes form cysts. These cysts can also be painful, and they could cause tooth decay and or infection to the surrounding tooth roots.

– The most common problem that patients have with wisdom teeth is that most do not have the room for them when they do come in. If they are able to come in, there is so little room for them and they’re so far in the back of the mouth that it’s hard to brush and floss them correctly. This is one of the leading causes of both tooth decay and infection in the back of the mouth.


Stick with the retainer!

The best thing that you can do after receiving braces is wearing your retainer consistently and make sure to get in touch with an orthodontist or dentist as soon as you notice your wisdom teeth erupting or if they are causing you any discomfort from impaction. Periodic check-ups with your dentist will usually prevent many of these issues from happening; they take x-rays when you visit to keep track of your wisdom teeth and monitor their position. Usually, dentists can catch these problems before they happen.

Braces and wisdom teeth removal

Some patients worry if they have braces now and need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. The good news is that you can have your wisdom teeth extracted even if you have braces right now; it doesn’t affect your treatment with braces and your braces don’t affect your recovery from wisdom teeth removal! So there is no need to worry about waiting to get your wisdom teeth removed.

To wrap up your wisdom teeth worries….

The great thing is that problems with overcrowding can be diagnosed well before your wisdom teeth actually erupt. When they get closer to the surface of your gums, they can be extracted before they cause any other problems.

Not everyone has to have their wisdom teeth removed. If there are no problems with yours, then there is no need to remove them.

Here at Dillehay Orthodontics, we stress the importance of wearing your retainer after orthodontic treatment. This is the only sure-fire way to make sure that your teeth stay as straight as they were from the first day yours were removed. If you begin to notice that yours is fitting more tightly, or if you have a feeling of pressure in the back of your mouth, get in touch with us to see if it is due to your wisdom teeth or if we can get you fitted for a new retainer. If you’re in the Wichita or Derby area and need orthodontic care, you can visit any of our three locations or stop by one of our two satellite locations.