Should You Extract Wisdom Teeth Prior To Orthodontic Treatment?
Hello and welcome to Friday Focus. Today we will answer a question we get quite often in the office: “Should you extract wisdom teeth prior to orthodontic treatment?” The answer is that the answer is not so simple.
The variables that determine whether or not someone should have their wisdom teeth (aka third molar) extracted before braces are put on include how old they are, the condition of the wisdom teeth and the recommendation of their oral surgeon and orthodontist. Many teenagers do need to get their wisdom teeth out prior to orthodontic treatment. With younger children, we recommend that orthodontic visits begin by the age of 7 at which time wisdom teeth haven’t yet come in. Wisdom teeth usually do not become an issue until around the ages of 16 or 17. It’s around this age that we advise our patients to see an oral surgeon regarding whether they will need their wisdom teeth taken out or not.
When Wisdom Tooth Extraction Might Be Recommended
For teenagers who require braces, proactive extraction is often recommended. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to straighten out teeth and to allow braces to deliver the best results, the teeth need to have room to move. Often times, erupting wisdom teeth lead to crowding, a factor which works against what the braces are trying to accomplish. In addition, to preserve future oral health, an orthodontist and/or oral surgeon may advocate extraction. As the wisdom teeth push through, they often become stuck in the gums or impacted. If wisdom teeth aren’t extracted, there is also a greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease as they are difficult to keep clean.
The Bottom Line Is . . .
Every patient is unique, so there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” answer to the question “Should you extract wisdom teeth prior to orthodontic treatment?” Ultimately, the decision to remove wisdom teeth is one that needs to be made in conjunction with your orthodontist and an oral surgeon.
Do you have a question or would like to schedule a consultation to determine whether or not wisdom tooth extraction is necessary for your teen? Contact us today. You can depend on us to make sure your child ends up with a beautiful, healthy smile.