July 1st, 2017
Many times either during or after your orthodontic treatment, we will recommend having your wisdom teeth evaluated by an oral surgeon or your dentist. You may not be feeling any discomfort so this may seem mysterious, but there are sound reasons why we may suggest this. Your wisdom teeth (also called the third molars) are typically the last teeth to come in. For most of you, you are undergoing orthodontic treatment because your teeth are already crowded. In other words your jaws are not big enough to accommodate all of your teeth! If your wisdom teeth can’t erupt fully, they will continue to grow under the gums and either become stuck or lean into and push against the roots of the second (12 year) molars.
Even before starting orthodontic treatment, we use your 3-D scan and panoramic radiograph to see if your wisdom teeth are there and determine if they will have enough room to come in. We can usually make this determination before the second molars have fully erupted! At the conclusion of your treatment, your final radiograph is evaluated and a copy is sent to your dentist for review. At that time, we usually ask your dentist to help guide you as to the correct time to have your wisdom teeth removed if indicated.
Having these extra teeth trapped under your gums can result in infection, the formation of cysts, and may play a role in the return of crowding. Our philosophy is that if these teeth are not going to have enough room to come in, they should be removed prior to full root formation. For most people this means having the teeth removed during their teen years. We will be happy to refer you to an oral surgeon and provide them with a copy of your most panoramic radiograph or 3-D image.