Wisdom Teeth and Retention

Wisdom teeth are the third last molars found at the very back on each side of the upper and lower jaw, generally.

Not everyone will have wisdom teeth, or they may not have all four.

Wisdom teeth will start to appear in the mouth later in life in your teens or early 20’s and our patients always have many questions around wisdom teeth and how they may affect their orthodontic treatment.

When you start your orthodontic treatment with us, we will update records including radiographs, these x-rays will show us if wisdom teeth are present. Wisdom teeth won’t always erupt, meaning that they may stay under the gum and not become visible. Even though you may not be able to see them, this doesn’t mean however that they won’t cause you pain and discomfort.

If you are in orthodontic treatment, we will monitor your wisdom teeth and their eruption, this can also be monitored by your general Dentist at your 6 monthly check-ups. Your orthodontist or dentists will be able to advise you if they think it necessary to have the wisdom teeth removed and can refer you onto an oral surgeon if extractions in chair are not possible.

The main reasons to have wisdom removed include reoccurring infections due to it being difficult to keep the area clean and free of food, and if they are damaging the adjacent healthy molars.

Teeth are always moving, but if the wisdom teeth come out straight then you will have little movement with the rest of the teeth in the mouth, however you may find they effect the bite. A retainer should still be worn nightly or as instructed by your orthodontist. If you find your retainer not fitting well, book a check appointment to see Dr Hawkins for a review where adjustments can be made to the retainer if needed.

There is no need to panic when you start showing symptoms of wisdom teeth erupting. Movement takes time, in most cases years, so you will have time to reach out to your general dentists or to question your wisdom teeth at your next scheduled orthodontic appointment.