Dealing With Wisdom Teeth Problems Before and During Orthodontic Treatment
When patients think of orthodontic treatment, they often feel overwhelmed by the extensive information on the web and the multiple problems addressed by experts.
However, we need to consider the value of the information about proper orthodontic care. In fact, the growth rate (CAGR) of the orthodontic field in the U.S. has a projected increase of $9.60 billion from 2022 to 2029.
So, when we think of this staggering data, we know the market is moving in a direction guided by patients’ awareness of how dental health affects their overall well-being.
But what happens when non-planned issues intervene in orthodontic treatment? Unfortunately, at times patients might feel discouraged from starting or continuing with treatment when issues like Wisdom Teeth come in the way.
However, you shouldn’t overstress. Indeed, this article clarifies some myths about Wisdom Teeth and Orthodontic treatment. We also articulate an explanation that will allow you to make the right decision regarding improving your oral health with orthodontics.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth (permanent teeth) to sprout between ages eighteen and twenty-five. Among the many facts about these teeth, we can say that:
They Serve No Functional Purpose
Records demonstrate that ancient humans needed to tear and chew raw and hard foods and needed these molars that fit in their larger jaws that modern humans don’t need anymore.
Wisdom Teeth Have Different Shapes
Wisdom Teeth are smaller than the other molars, with a rounded and rectangular crown and roots that tend to fuse.
Not All People Have Wisdom Teeth
Not all people have wisdom teeth. In fact, Almost one-third of the population have no Wisdom Teeth at all. In some cases, patients’ X-rays show developmental teeth that grow only in one arch, or sometimes, they have one or two teeth.
Wisdom Teeth Might Become Impacted
This is the focal point of this discussion. Wisdom Teeth, in many cases, might not produce any problems throughout the entire lifespan of a patient. However, impacted wisdom teeth need professional monitoring.
First, in some cases, a patient has a jaw with sufficient space for teeth to sprout normally in a vertical position, with the occlusal portion facing its counterpart on the opposite dental arch.
“In these cases, the possibility of needing oral surgery for wisdom teeth extraction decreases significantly.”
However, there are some special cases in which Wisdom Teeth develop in a form specialists call “impacted.” This means they don’t erupt (remain below the gums) or erupt partially (only a portion above the gums).
Impacted Wisdom Teeth might develop in several positions:
- In an angled position toward the next tooth, named the second molar;
- In an angled position toward the back of the mouth;
- Horizontally with a right angle as if it is “lying down” parallel to the jawbone and;
- Develop vertically straight up as other teeth but remain below the gums and stuck within the jawbone.
Before entering into an orthodontic treatment with braces or clear alignment devices as part of a pre-procedural protocol, Dr. Deborah Solomon requires patients to have a panoramic X-ray.
Dr. Solomon observes and evaluates the development of the jaws, dental structure, and Wisdom Teeth and might recommend wisdom teeth removal if she identifies an actual or potential anomaly.
Can You Get Braces With Wisdom Teeth?
Yes, you can get braces if you already have Wisdom Teeth that sprouted, or they might even grow during orthodontic treatment. In some cases, Wisdom Teeth have no incidence in orthodontic treatment, and the specialist might even cement braces on them.
However, after a thorough evaluation of the case, Dr. Solomon recommends an extraction. Let’s check some of the causes for recommending an extraction before initiating an orthodontic treatment:
Need to Make Room to Align Other Teeth or to Avoid Overcrowding
Dr. Solomon might find no problems with your wisdom teeth. Still, to produce the expected alignment results, she might need enough room to move crooked teeth or, in some cases, free space for shifting teeth into a new position and recommend an extraction.
Complications With Orthodontic Treatments
Impacted Wisdom Teeth do not cause enough strain over the second molar (other teeth) to affect the result of orthodontic treatment. For this reason, orthodontic specialists disregard the possibility of extraction for the sole reason of having or developing wisdom teeth.
However, there are cases in which the position of Wisdom Teeth (impacted) might become problematic during treatment:
Food Residues Get Trapped Behind a Wisdom Tooth
Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth facing the second molar form an angle, and a gum flap (operculum) forms over the teeth, covering part of the crown. As a result, food tends to stagnate between the second molar and Wisdom Teeth and inside the operculum (gum tissue), causing tooth decay and risk of infection in Wisdom Teeth and its second molar neighbor (adjacent teeth).
Orthodontic treatment makes oral hygiene a complex task that exacerbates the problem of food residues that might accumulate between teeth and inside the flap. In these cases, the orthodontic specialist must suspend treatment while a dentist treats the cavity or infection that might spread to the second molar.
Infection or Gum Disease (Periodontitis)
Dr. Solomon might recommend the extraction of these teeth to prevent the formation of cavities and infections that might delay the treatment. In addition, moving teeth on swollen or infected gums might be detrimental and dangerous because the periodontal ligaments that nurture and sustain teeth might be weak. The tooth might weaken severely with braces strain and produce tooth loss.
Development of a Fluid-Filled Sac (Cyst)
When a partially impacted Wisdom Teeth erupts, it might form a cyst. An infected cyst complicates orthodontic treatment, and Dr. Solomon might need to suspend the orthodontic treatment during the gum infection treatment.
Therefore, removing these teeth is the orthodontist’s recommendation before entering treatment, and Dr. Solomon might refer you to an Oral Surgeon for an extraction procedure.
Wisdom Teeth extraction implies an oral surgery in which a specialist (oral surgeon) practices a routine procedure using a scalpel to open the gums above or surrounding the tooth, making space to detach the molar from the jawbone.
An Oral Surgeon is a specialist trained and certified to provide IV sedation to the patient to reduce discomfort to the minimum possible during wisdom tooth extractions. A patient enters a sedative semi-awake status and feels no pain during the procedure.
Therefore, if you feel anxious about the process, you might not even remember it happening afterward. Also, the oral surgeon prescribes painkillers and provides care recommendations that include a soft food diet to facilitate the patient’s recovery.
Smile and Health Go Hand in Hand
At Smile Health Orthodontics, Dr. Solomon and her crew guide patients through the entire pre-procedural part of orthodontics, answering common questions for outstanding results, a healthy smile, functional occlusion, and beautifully aligned teeth.
Schedule an appointment so that Dr. Salomon can evaluate the particularities of your case, and you start the journey to a professionally managed smile that people will love.