Wisdom teeth and Orthodontic treatment

Wisdom teeth are the very back molars that come through last, generally later on in life in your teens to early 20’s. Our patients, new and existing, always have so many questions when it comes to their wisdom teeth;

  • Do I have wisdom teeth?
  • Do my wisdom teeth need to be removed?
  • Will my wisdom teeth move my other teeth?
  • How can I clean my wisdom teeth?

Not everyone will have all four wisdom teeth, sometimes you may have fewer or in some cases maybe even more!

These wisdom teeth may not always erupt, meaning they may stay under the gum and not be visible. Even though you may not be able to see them, doesn’t mean they won’t cause you pain and discomfort.  The most common symptoms you may have when it comes to wisdom teeth erupting are;

  • Sore, red and tender gums.
  • Bleeding in the area.
  • Bad breath.
  • Difficulty swallowing or opening your mouth.

The most common reasons to have wisdom teeth extracted are;

  • Difficulty cleaning properly leading to infection and cavities.
  • Potential damage to the surrounding teeth due to eruption.

Your orthodontist or dentist will be able to advise you if it is necessary for the wisdom teeth to be extracted and can refer you onto an oral surgeon if they’re unable to be removed in the dental chair.

Throughout your orthodontic treatment you will have a number of radiographs taken (OPG). Each time your x-ray is updated your orthodontist will be able to monitor the growth and eruption of your wisdom teeth and advice you if they are going to cause more damage than good and if they require to be extracted.

Wisdom teeth erupting, doesn’t mean that your teeth will become crooked or shift overnight. Movement takes time, in most cases years, but there are also other factors as to why your teeth may start to move and appear crooked, such as age.

Teeth are always moving and as we get older, we notice these changes more, this why after orthodontic treatment we always issue a night retainer that is a long-term solution for keeping the teeth where we want them.

There is no need to panic when your wisdom teeth start to erupt or when you start showing symptoms, instead make an appointment with your general dentist or have your orthodontist review the situation at your next routine appointment.