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Wisdom teeth are a set of molars that are the last teeth to erupt, with most not making an appearance until we are between the ages of 17 and 25 years old.
As you undergo orthodontic treatment at Gutierrez Orthodontics, you will learn all about your teeth and how the braces and aligners work to move them into a straighter position, but wisdom teeth are not a subject you may be familiar with.
If you have traditional metal braces, clear ceramic braces or aligners such as 3M™ Clarity™ or Invisalign, but your wisdom teeth have not erupted yet, you may be wondering if your wisdom teeth can affect your orthodontic treatment. To better understand wisdom teeth and their effect on orthodontic treatment, it is essential first to understand the role they play in our oral health and development.
You may have had your wisdom teeth removed, or you may know many others who have, leading you to wonder why we still have our wisdom teeth. At one point, wisdom teeth served a vital function. Back during a time when our diet consisted of tough meats, nuts, and roots, these wisdom teeth helped to accommodate this diet which also required large, more powerful jaws.
Our diet has become more varied and leading to your jaws growing smaller, resulting in some people having jaws that are too small to accommodate wisdom teeth comfortably. While some of us will have our wisdom, teeth erupt with slight discomfort, but no other issues, those with smaller jaws will experience pain, infections, and discomfort when their wisdom teeth begin to erupt. For those experiencing pain and discomfort due to wisdom teeth growing in, removal may be recommended.
Wisdom teeth are not always required to be removed. In some cases, it may be beneficial to remove the wisdom teeth in cases where:
There isn’t enough room in the mouth for the teeth to come through.
The wisdom teeth are impacted (came in sideways, jammed behind the last tooth), which can lead to pain, swelling, and infection. May also lead to damage to healthy teeth.
Your Dr. Gutiérrez or your general dentist will be able to determine if removal of your wisdom teeth is needed.
When it comes to determining whether or not your wisdom teeth will affect the orthodontic work you’ve had done, it is essential to consider the timing. At the same time your wisdom teeth are erupting, between the ages of 17-25, you will also be experiencing a slight shifting in your teeth. This may lead you to believe that the eruption of your wisdom teeth and the shifting are related, but research has shown that this is not the case. The aging process causes this shifting.
As you age, your teeth will naturally drift, along with showing signs of wear. This drifting can lead to teeth moving forward slightly, overlapping, etc. This residual jaw growth can cause your teeth to move into undesirable positions, which is why wearing your retainer as directed is so essential to maintaining your smile and avoiding the effects of this natural drifting.
If you have any concerns about your wisdom teeth and your orthodontic treatment, contact Gutiérrez Orthodontics today to schedule an exam!