November 19th, 2020
Do I have to get my wisdom teeth removed after Orthodontic treatment?
The quick answer is maybe, not all patients’ need them removed but some do, the Orthodontist or your Dentist will help you make that decision at the appropriate time.
There used to be a misconception that all wisdom teeth had to be removed after orthodontic treatment because if they weren’t, the teeth would move/relapse. Well, we now know that wisdom teeth do not cause the other teeth to move. There have been many excellent studies which show that whether you have wisdom teeth or not the teeth can move. The best way to assure they don’t is to wear your retainers or if you have a fixed retainer keep it! Just like you brush and hopefully floss your teeth daily to keep your teeth healthy, if you want to keep your teeth straight then 2 to 3 times a week wear your retainer at night.
The reason for wisdom teeth removal includes:
- Second molar health- These are the teeth in front of the wisdom teeth which have loss of bone support due to wisdom teeth. These second molars can even be lost due to resorption of roots and or bone loss by wisdom teeth.
- Infections/Inflammation of the wisdom teeth which can end up causing emergency surgery to remove these and loss of bone in the back of the jaw.
- Cysts/Tumors- In rare circumstances these can develop form the wisdom teeth
- Halitosis (bad breath)- can develop as a result of inflammation around wisdom teeth
- Cavities- yes, wisdom teeth can develop cavities because a lot of the time they are not accessible to be cleaned properly. If you can’t keep them clean, they need to be removed.
- Poor alignment- if the wisdom teeth come in (erupt) in a poor position so that they won’t be in a position to help with chewing and you aren’t missing the second or first molars then removal is indicated. The reason you would keep the wisdom teeth in the case of missing other molars is sometimes wisdom teeth can be moved to substitute for them thus improving the ability to chew.
Now, if you have enough space for your wisdom teeth, they are aligned and can be kept clean then keep them.
When is the best time to remove wisdom teeth?
The best time is when the roots are about ½ formed. It is easier to remove these teeth then and there is less chance of having post removal complications like infections, numbness and root fractures. The age range for boys is 16-18y.o. and girls 14-17y.o. It’s not that you can’t remove these at other times, it’s just easier then. Sometimes they have to be removed earlier than this due to their impeding the coming in (eruption) of the second molars.
I hope this helps your understanding of wisdom teeth. Maybe we’ve improved your wisdom!