Orthodontic Challenges: The Reality of Adjusting Wisdom Teeth with Braces 

by | May 24, 2024 | Dental Braces, Orthodontic Treatments | 0 comments

Navigating the world of orthodontic treatment comes with a host of challenges, mainly when it involves adjusting wisdom teeth with braces. 

Many of us are familiar with the complexities of wisdom teeth—the late bloomers of our mouths, often arriving just as we think our dental woes are behind us. 

Integrating the movement of these teeth into an orthodontic treatment plan requires careful consideration and a nuanced approach. 

What are the realities of managing wisdom teeth within the context of braces? Let’s explore the technical and practical aspects that patients face in achieving a harmonious and healthy smile.

Why Is It Important to Assess Wisdom Teeth before Getting Braces? 

Why Is It Important to Assess Wisdom Teeth before Getting Braces?

Assessing wisdom teeth before initiating braces treatment is crucial for several reasons, primarily to ensure orthodontic treatment’s success and to maintain oral health

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last set of teeth to erupt, usually during the late teenage years to early twenties. 

Since they emerge when most permanent teeth have settled, wisdom teeth can create complications if not appropriately evaluated.

  • Impaction and Space Issues: Wisdom teeth often become impacted, meaning they do not fully erupt through the gums due to lack of space in the jaw. This impaction can exert pressure on surrounding teeth, potentially causing them to shift and undo all the hard work done by braces.

    Orthodontists might recommend wisdom teeth extraction before braces are applied to prevent such movement and ensure there is enough room for other teeth to align correctly.
  • Impact on Treatment Plans: Orthodontists need a complete understanding of a patient’s dental structure, including any issues related to wisdom teeth, to design an effective treatment plan. For example, removing wisdom teeth can be necessary if they are likely to cause crowding or misaligning of newly straightened teeth.

    This step ensures that the teeth do not shift back once the braces come off due to pressure from emerging wisdom teeth. 
  • Preventing Dental Health Issues: Impacted wisdom teeth are prone to infections, cysts, and even bone loss around the teeth. Assessing and removing problematic wisdom teeth before starting orthodontic treatment can prevent these issues.

    In some cases removing wisdom teeth helps maintain the overall health of gums and surrounding teeth, ensuring that orthodontic treatment leads to a healthy, aligned smile without future complications. 
  • Orthodontic Strategy Adjustments: In cases where wisdom teeth have already appropriately erupted, and there is enough space in the mouth to accommodate them, the orthodontist might still need to consider their presence in their strategy.

    Wisdom teeth might require minor adjustments with braces or other orthodontic appliances to ensure they contribute to a balanced bite and do not interfere with the alignment of other teeth.

Evaluating wisdom teeth before proceeding with braces is essential. It helps orthodontists tailor a more precise and effective treatment plan and prevents future dental issues that could compromise the alignment and health of the patient’s smile.

Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed before Starting Braces Treatment?

Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed before Starting Braces Treatment

The decision to remove wisdom teeth before beginning orthodontic treatment with braces often depends on several factors specific to each patient’s dental health and alignment needs. Many orthodontists and oral surgeons recommend evaluating the position, growth trajectory, and potential impact of wisdom teeth on the existing dental structure before making this decision.

If x-rays and assessments show that the wisdom teeth are likely to cause crowding or misalignment of teeth by exerting pressure on the surrounding teeth, it may be wise to have them removed. 

This is particularly important if more space is needed in the jaw to accommodate these third molars without affecting the alignment achieved through braces. 

Removing wisdom teeth can prevent them from disrupting the results of orthodontic treatment by pushing against the aligned teeth and causing them to shift.

Impacted wisdom teeth, which cannot fully erupt through the gums due to lack of room, can lead to pain, infection, and other serious oral health issues like root resorption of adjacent teeth or bone loss. 

Extracting them before braces can help avoid these complications and create a healthier environment for moving other teeth into their correct positions.

Do Wisdom Teeth Always Need to Be Removed before Braces? 

Not all cases require the removal of wisdom teeth before starting braces treatment. The necessity largely depends on individual circumstances, including the growth stage of the wisdom teeth and their effect on the rest of the teeth.

  • Sufficient Space and Alignment: If the orthodontist determines through detailed X-rays that the wisdom teeth are growing properly and there is enough room in the jaw to accommodate them without risking the alignment of other teeth, they may not need to be removed. In some cases, wisdom teeth can grow fully and healthily without causing any issues.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Orthodontists might decide to monitor them throughout braces treatment when it’s unclear whether the wisdom teeth will cause problems. This approach allows for adjustments in the treatment plan if the wisdom teeth start affecting other teeth’ alignment or health.

Ultimately, the decision to remove wisdom teeth before starting braces should be made in consultation with an orthodontist.

They will consider the potential risks and benefits based on the patient’s overall dental health, the position of the wisdom teeth, and the goals of the orthodontic treatment.

This ensures each patient receives a customized treatment plan tailored to provide the best possible outcomes for their smile and oral health.

How Do Orthodontists Adjust Braces with Wisdom Teeth?

How Do Orthodontists Adjust Braces with Wisdom Teeth?

Adjusting braces in the presence of wisdom teeth requires careful planning and consideration by orthodontists. When wisdom teeth are present during orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist must frequently monitor their eruption and potential impact on surrounding teeth and the overall alignment process.

Orthodontists use X-rays and examinations to monitor the position and eruption of wisdom teeth. If these third molars begin to exert pressure on adjacent teeth, potentially undoing the alignment achieved by braces, the orthodontist may need to make adjustments. 

This could involve modifying the orthodontic appliances or occasionally using techniques like power chains to provide enough force to maintain proper alignment of the other teeth.

Is It Possible to Leave Room for Wisdom Teeth When Using Braces?

Leaving room for wisdom teeth during braces treatment is possible under certain conditions. It is often considered when planning orthodontic treatment for younger patients whose wisdom teeth have not yet erupted.

The orthodontist will determine the amount of space in the patient’s jaw and the potential for the wisdom teeth to erupt healthily. If there is enough space in the jaw without risking the alignment of existing teeth, the orthodontist might design the treatment to accommodate the future eruption of the wisdom teeth.

In cases where there appears to be sufficient room, the orthodontist can use strategic spacing techniques during the braces treatment to allow the wisdom teeth to come in without disrupting the alignment of other teeth. 

This may involve slightly expanding the dental arch or making minor adjustments to the positioning of the second molars to ensure enough room for the third molars to erupt fully and align properly.

It’s important to note that each patient’s situation is unique. The feasibility of leaving room for wisdom teeth depends on individual anatomical factors and the developmental stage of the patient’s teeth and jaws. 

Continuous monitoring and adjustments are essential to ensure that the presence of wisdom teeth does not compromise the treatment outcomes. 

In many cases, proactive or preemptive removal of wisdom teeth is recommended to avoid potential future complications and ensure a stable and lasting smile alignment from braces treatment.

Get the Right Start with Your Braces in Hollywood, MD!

Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if orthodontic care is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic care or have questions about the process, use our live chat, call (240) 802-7217, or message us through our Contact Us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary consultation!

Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Hollywood, Wildewood, or Leonardtown and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Maryland, don’t hesitate to visit our office!

We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!

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