Wisdom Teeth In Orthodontics

I have recently been in an orthodontic office, and heard a rather interesting conversation. A young woman whose wisdom teeth were coming in but who was wearing braces enquired if she will need the braces extend to encompass her wisdom teeth. The conversation then turned towards whether or not wisdom teeth are ever aligned, and how they affect the bite. I thought I would relate what I learned, because it is rather interesting.

Alignment

The truth is, wisdom teeth almost never get braces put on them. It is incredibly rare to do so, and for reasons that will become clear below. However wisdom teeth when they do get braces put on them usually serve only as anchors, as stable points from which ligation can be fastened, or a space that provides the pull necessary to align other teeth.     

But wisdom teeth themselves rarely need alignment. They are the last teeth to come in, they have to make do with what space is left. Which brings us to our next issue.

wisdom teeth

Space issues

The human mouth does not always have enough space for all of the teeth that will eventually end up in it. This way, the wisdom teeth often do not have enough space to grow, and this is why they cause a lot of orthodontic problems. Indeed, they are often the main reason for crowding to being with, and very frequently in order to correct crowding, wisdom teeth need to be removed, often surgically.

Impaction

The biggest problem of course with wisdom teeth is that they can become impacted and infected in the process. When they become impacted, they push the rest of the teeth towards each other gradually, and often by the time you realize it is happening you already need orthodontic treatment. This is because sometimes wisdom teeth do not grow out, but instead grow sideways towards the rest of your teeth. This can be quiet and painless, or obvious and painful. By pushing the teeth towards each other, your teeth can overlap, or they can also crack and break under the pressure. In these cases, wisdom teeth are always removed, as they can become infected and do nothing but orthodontic harm.

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