Do I need my wisdom teeth to be removed before orthodontic treatment?

Wisdom teeth are the third and the last molars which are found at the back on each side of upper and lower jaws. This tooth erupts in mouth when a person is in late teens or early 20s, but everyone does not have wisdom teeth. Most adults have four wisdom teeth but 15-20% of people never develop one of these four teeth. Wisdom teeth have been of great debate amongst orthodontists. Removal of  wisdom teeth before starting orthodontic treatment depends on variety of factors.

wisdom tooth removal
Wisdom tooth pain!

One of the main reasons that patients undergo wisdom teeth removal is that there is not enough space for the molars to erupt resulting in tooth impaction. If the teeth are impacted, infection, cavities, overcrowding and periodontal disease are more likely to occur.

If there is not enough space in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to erupt, orthodontists suggest wisdom teeth removal before starting orthodontic treatment. The reason behind this is if wisdom teeth erupt after the orthodontic treatment, it can affect and undo the smile and teeth alignment that the braces helped to create. In other cases, where there is space in the jaw, these third molars act as an anchor for orthodontic treatment and should be left in place.

One more problem that occurs involves the posterior teeth cracking and breaking. During and after orthodontic treatment, tightly secured appliances are given that shift the teeth and keep them in place, as the wisdom teeth push against the teeth and because the teeth are not able to more due to orthodontic appliances, it can cause significant damage to surrounding teeth. As a result, these is possibility that the tooth may require toot canals, dental crowns and even extractions.

In general, wisdom teeth are removed if they have surrounding gum disease, cavities that can’t be restored, are infected or have associated tumours or cysts. In addition, wisdom teeth that are erupting improperly and /or damaging the neighboring teeth need to be removed.

Orthodontic treatments may require removal of wisdom teeth to create space to correct crowding or if wisdom teeth have moved into an un favorable position and are interfering with the function. However, there are conditions where the wisdom teeth can be moved orthodontically to replace badly decayed and extracted neighboring molar teeth.

In short, unless there is a specified orthodontic need for wisdom teeth removal it should be restored.

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