Should You Remove Wisdom Teeth Before Getting Braces?

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Choosing the right time to receive braces can be tough. Because every mouth develops differently, determining whether or not to begin treatment at a younger age can be challenging. Some parents bring their children in to ask if wisdom teeth can affect orthodontic treatment and, if so, what steps they should take. Today we will cover everything you need to know about wisdom teeth and how they may affect your orthodontic treatment.

Because although you might think it’s “wise” to remove wisdom teeth before starting orthodontic treatment, that may not be the right choice for everyone. At Hillsdale Orthodontics, Dr. Leemin and her team pride themselves on providing tailored treatment plans for each patient, which fit their specific needs and goals. 

Let’s start. 

What Are Wisdom Teeth and How Do They Work?

The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are positioned in the back of the mouth. We don’t need our wisdom teeth as much as our forefathers due to improved dental health and changes in our nutrition over hundreds of years.

The average person has four wisdom teeth (two on the top arch and two on the bottom), although some never develop them in the gums, while others develop but never erupt. The following possibilities could occur with wisdom teeth:

  • Each of the four wisdom teeth erupts into its ideal location.
  • The teeth emerge normally; however, a gum flap covers them.
  • At an angle, one or more teeth erupt (impacted)
  • In the gums, one or more teeth remain unerupted.
  • No wisdom teeth are found on the x-ray.

Now that you have a slightly better understanding of what role wisdom teeth play in our mouths and how they work, let’s continue by answering some of the most asked questions

Can Wisdom Teeth Shift Tooth Position?

In short, NO! Wisdom teeth (third molars) are the last to erupt and are frequently impacted due to a lack of space.

Your mouth (like the rest of your body) is continually evolving, and your teeth are a part of that change. This may come as a surprise, especially if you find one or more of your teeth aren’t where they used to be for the first time! 

Knowing what happens in your mouth (and face) over time will help you anticipate what to expect and what to do about it. But for right now, we need to debunk one of the most common dental and orthodontic myths! 

Many people (even dental professionals) believe that the pressure from third molars causes the remainder of the teeth to migrate forward. Most studies failed to find a link, and more crucially, teeth shift even when wisdom teeth are removed (extracted) by a dental health specialist. 

As a result, most orthodontists in the United States do not recommend eliminating third molars to prevent teeth shifting (however, they will recommend removing your back molars for other reasons such as infection, pain, pathology, and so forth).

Is it Possible for Wisdom Teeth to Cause Teeth to Overlap?

When wisdom teeth develop, it’s a common misconception that they’ll push all of your other teeth out of place, causing them to migrate and overlap. According to the research, wisdom teeth do not apply enough pressure to cause misalignment. 

As a result, we typically use a ‘wait-and-see’ approach when making big decisions. Your orthodontic team will evaluate a number of issues before recommending removal.

What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

According to the Mayo Clinic, third molars in the rear of the mouth that don’t have enough room to emerge or develop normally are impacted wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth that have been impacted can cause discomfort, damage to neighboring teeth, and other dental issues. 

In some circumstances, impacted wisdom teeth create no obvious or immediate concerns. However, because they’re difficult to keep clean, they’re more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease than other teeth.

Wisdom teeth that have become impacted and are causing pain or other dental issues will have to undergo a professional extraction. Some dentists and oral surgeons recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth that don’t produce symptoms to avoid future difficulties.

Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Because an impacted wisdom tooth can cause noticeable pain and discomfort, it’s important to know the possible symptoms you may face thanks to an impacted wisdom tooth. 

Impacted wisdom teeth or third molars do not always produce symptoms. You may encounter some of the following indications or symptoms if an impacted wisdom tooth becomes infected, destroys other teeth, or causes other dental problems:

  • Gums that are red or swollen,
  • Gums that are tender or bleeding,
  • Jaw ache,
  • Swelling around the mouth and jaw,
  • Breath problems,
  • You have a bad taste in your mouth.
  • You’re having trouble opening your mouth.

Should You Remove Wisdom Teeth Before or After Braces?

The short answer is no. You do not need to have your wisdom teeth removed before or after braces. However, this must be considered unique to the patient, their oral health, and orthodontic needs.

Before beginning treatment, an orthodontist will always consider wisdom teeth. If the teeth haven’t fully developed and there isn’t enough room for them, an orthodontist may propose that they be extracted before treatment begins. If there is enough room in the jaw for the wisdom teeth to emerge, the orthodontist may suggest leaving the teeth alone and continuing treatment and monitoring.

The following are some reasons why wisdom teeth are removed:

  • Because food is trapped between the wisdom tooth and the gum and cheek, the gum and cheek become infected multiple times.
  • Food gets trapped behind the impacted wisdom tooth, causing deterioration in the wisdom teeth or second molar.
  • Wisdom teeth have become so deteriorated that they can no longer be repaired by any dental health specialist.
  • There is an infection or cyst near the wisdom tooth.
  • The wisdom tooth is causing pain.

The Importance of Portland Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment can go a long way toward correcting bad bites and allowing your child’s mouth and teeth to develop normally. It’s crucial to remember that bite problem are considerably easier and faster to address at a young age because the bones are still developing and more easily manipulated.

If your kid’s teeth remain untreated, they may develop problems later on, necessitating substantial therapy or dental surgeries, which may be distressing for your child. 

Crooked teeth can also grow in unnatural positions and protrude, rendering them more vulnerable to physical harm. Straightening them out as soon as possible helps prevent this, especially since children are prone to tripping and experiencing accidents that can chip or shatter their teeth.

Early orthodontic treatment improves your child’s dental health, but it also saves you time and money in the long term. The more complex a dental problem is, the longer it will take to treat it and the more money it will cost.

How Do Dentists Remove Wisdom Teeth With Braces?

As you already know, usually, wisdom teeth will already have been removed by a specialist before starting orthodontic treatment with braces; however, qualified professionals can still perform the procedure while you’re undergoing treatment. The process is the same. 

If your dentist believes that your wisdom teeth will cause problems or concerns for your oral health, they will consider removing these teeth. Your dentist may be able to remove your wisdom teeth under local anesthetic (with or without further sedation) or may refer you to an Oral Surgeon for a general anesthetic, depending on the angulation and degree of eruption.

Certain wisdom teeth can be difficult to remove because of their angulation or degree of impaction in the surrounding bone. Your dentist or oral surgeon may need to divide the tooth into numerous pieces to help with removal. The team will then suture your gums after the extraction, and your dentist may use gauze to control bleeding.

What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

You should only eat soft, protein-rich foods for the first four to seven days, such as:

  •  Yogurt
  •  Ice cream,
  • Cottage cheese.
  • Applesauce and fruit smoothies are excellent ways to boost vitamin intake. 
  • Scrambled eggs
  • some types of seafood
  • mashed potatoes
  • Cereals and soups are all healthful and easy to chew foods.

Your mouth may be numb for a brief time after surgery, depending on the anesthetic used. As a result, spicy foods and beverages are not the best choices at this time. You should also avoid chewy foods during this period because you are more likely to bite your tongue, lips, and cheek.

On the other hand, spicy meals may irritate the skin and slow the healing process. 

You should also avoid hard, crunchy, sticky, or sharp foods.

Possible Relationship Between Impacted Wisdom Teeth and TMJ/TMD

When an impacted wisdom tooth pushes against another tooth, it can cause discomfort, suffering, and even injury to the other tooth and raise the risk of infection in the surrounding area. Headaches and jaw discomfort from both impacted wisdom teeth and TMJ can radiate to the ear and other portions of your face.

Jaw joint abnormalities are a common cause of TMJ problems. Impacted wisdom teeth might also contribute to this condition by putting too much strain on your jaw.

If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth extracted by a professional and are experiencing chronic discomfort or pain in your jaw, you should see a dentist or oral surgeon to figure out what’s causing it. Bacteria in your wisdom teeth are a major source of infection and may have reached and infected some of your jaw joints.

If you think your child could benefit from Portland early orthodontics treatment or if you need TMJ-TMD treatment in Portland, contact a Hillsdale Orthodontics team member right away.

We look forward to helping you and your family achieve and keep a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come.

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Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

As a nutty overachiever, Dr. Leemin never lost sight of her childhood dreams of becoming a smartypants orthodontist. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors, she embarked on her career in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated #1 in her class. Feeling just a little too ambitious, she then completed 2.5 years of additional training at OHSU to become an orthodontic specialist.

Stanford University – Bachelor of Arts with Honors
Univ. of Pennsylvania – Doctor of Dental Medicine
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Master of Science
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Certificate in Orthodontics

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

Dr. Alix J. Leemin DMD, MS

As a nutty overachiever, Dr. Leemin never lost sight of her childhood dreams of becoming a smartypants orthodontist. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors, she embarked on her career in dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated #1 in her class. Feeling just a little too ambitious, she then completed 2.5 years of additional training at OHSU to become an orthodontic specialist.

Stanford University – Bachelor of Arts with Honors
Univ. of Pennsylvania – Doctor of Dental Medicine
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Master of Science
Oregon Health & Science Univ. – Certificate in Orthodontics