Many factors can influence the way that your teeth are aligned. One of the key factors is how your wisdom teeth are aligned, and how they are growing. Frequently, there isn’t enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to grow into, and these teeth become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can push all of your teeth together, causing crowding and other orthodontic issues. In these cases, it is necessary to get them removed. But in other cases, the wisdom teeth can actually act as anchor for orthodontic treatment, and should be left alone. Wisdom teeth and orthodontic treatment are not mutually exclusive, and it is well possible to align your teeth with orthodontics and keep your wisdom teeth.
When wisdom tooth extraction is inevitable
In certain cases, the removal of the wisdom teeth cannot wait, and must happen before orthodontic treatment can commence. The dentist can determine whether or not the wisdom teeth are affecting the alignment of your teeth by giving you an x-ray. Sometimes the wisdom teeth just do not erupt, but are safely tucked away, and sometimes they are growing in sideways under the gum line, pushing the teeth together. Other times they erupt partially or lean into the other molars; in these cases extraction is also more than likely necessary, as they will push the molars together and cause malocclusions. The likelihood for an infection and for tooth decay and periodontitis is also very high when the teeth aren’t fully erupted, so that’s one more reason to get them removed before orthodontic treatment, as orthodontic patients are considered at heightened risk for these problems.
When wisdom teeth can stay in
If the wisdom teeth are fully erupted and not a hindrance to orthodontic treatment, they can definitely stay in. A healthy, strong set of wisdom teeth can help in chewing, and thus fulfils a function, and should not be removed. The wisdom teeth may even play a role in orthodontic treatment; they can be used as anchors for the braces, and can make treatment easier. If the teeth aren’t fully erupted, but are growing in the right direction and are not putting pressure on the other teeth, then they can stay in as well.
Whether or not they can stay in is decided by the orthodontist after s/he has consulted the x-ray and has determined what path the wisdom teeth are growing in and how their roots look. Wisdom tooth roots are very frequently irregular and may intertwine or even block the tooth roots of other teeth, and this can affect the orthodontic treatment of the back teeth. If they need to be pulled, the healing time is roughly three months, and then orthodontic treatment can commence.