We often receive questions from parents on whether their child should have their wisdom teeth removed before they get braces. The truth is, there’s no hard right or wrong answer to this. Whether or not you need to get your wisdom teeth removed before braces depends on a variety of factors.
First, let’s touch base on some basics.
What are braces used for?
Braces are devices used in orthodontics to straighten teeth, correct align bites or malocclusions and make space for teeth. Apart from improving the way your smile looks, braces ensure the long term health of your gums and teeth by spreading biting pressure across your teeth. They work by using wires and brackets to apply pressure on teeth and slowly move teeth in the right direction. As the pressure takes effect, the bone in the jaw also changes to allow your teeth and their roots to move.
You can choose lingual braces, ceramic braces or traditional metal fixed braces.
Who are braces suitable for?
Braces are suitable for anyone at any age (as long as enough teeth come through), though school-going kids take up a large majority of our patient profile. That being said, if you’re an adult considering braces, don’t let this demographic factor hold you back from getting the orthodontic care you need.
Many patients get braces to for the following reasons:
- Correct misaligned teeth like overcrowded or crooked teeth
- Lack of space between teeth
- Overjet (upper front teeth that stick out)
- Underbite (lower teeth that extend further than upper front teeth)
- Overbite (upper teeth overlap the lower set of teeth; also known as buck teeth)
- To simply improve the appearance of their smile
Please note that you cannot get braces if you have advanced gum disease, as with any orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will be able to advise you on treatment options accordingly.
Why must I remove my wisdom teeth?
If you don’t have impacted wisdom teeth that don’t get in the way of brushing and flossing, you don’t actually have to remove them. But chances of that and few and far in between and for most of us, our wisdom teeth have the potential to cause issues such as:
- Excessive tooth decay
- Damage to neighbouring teeth due to tooth decay and crowded molars
- Gum disease
- Cysts and tumours
- Chronic pain
Head over here to read more on our wisdom tooth removal service.
So should I wait to remove my wisdom teeth before getting braces?
Considering that most people do not get their last set of molars till they are 17 or older, waiting for their wisdom teeth to erupt before getting braces isn’t exactly the smartest thing to do. You should always get orthodontic care as early as you can.
As for whether you should remove your wisdom teeth before getting braces — it really depends, and your dentist will know best. Most dentists recommend that a child come in for evaluation around the age of 7 to keep an eye on wisdom teeth development and recognise early dental problems. If it is discovered that there are wisdom teeth present, your dentist can develop a treatment plan for the future. At Smilepoint Dental, we encourage that children start seeing the dentist early and stick to the same one for record-keeping and treatment planning purposes.
It is also possible to get braces while having your wisdom teeth in at the same time — but this usually only happens if there is enough room in your jaw and your third molars act as an anchor. Lastly, it is not uncommon to have wisdom teeth removed while wearing braces.
Will wisdom teeth make my teeth crooked after braces?
Many think that wisdom teeth can affect the alignment of teeth after braces, but research has shown that forces from wisdom teeth are so small they play no role in movement or orthodontic outcomes. The truth is, movement of teeth after braces treatment comes from not wearing the prescribed retainers.
Once your braces are removed, your dentist will have you fitted for a retainer to be worn for at least two years. Retainers are designed to keep your teeth from shifting and it is imperative that you wear them as per your dentist’s instructions.
If you or your child require braces but are concerned about how wisdom teeth will affect your treatment process, don’t be afraid to reach out to us or schedule an appointment.
- Scribante, A., Sfondrini, M. F., Collesano, V., Tovt, G., Bernardinelli, L., & Gandini, P. (2017). Dental Hygiene and Orthodontics: Effect of Ultrasonic Instrumentation on Bonding Efficacy of Different Lingual Orthodontic Brackets. BioMed research international, 2017, 3714651. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/3714651
- Verma, S., Gupta, D. K., Singh, G., & Mittal, S. (2015). A customized appliance for molar uprighting and space regaining. Journal of clinical orthodontics : JCO, 49(7), 452–454.