The Myth of Wisdom Teeth
At Tebo Orthodontics, we are often asked a variety of questions about wisdom teeth. During the consultation exam we are often asked, “Should I have my wisdom teeth removed prior to starting orthodontic treatment?”. We also, at the completion of orthodontic treatment, we have patients concerned that their teeth will shift when their wisdom teeth begin erupting. They worry that all the progress they’ve made to achieve their new, beautiful smile will become undone because of their wisdom teeth.
This is a myth! Let us discuss this myth a little further.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth and are the third and last set of molars on each side to erupt. Wisdom teeth typically erupt in the late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth were useful to our ancestors because they were used to replace teeth that may have been lost due to poor diet, severe trauma, or decay. With modern practices of healthier oral hygiene habits, we do not need to consider wisdom teeth as a set of “replacement” teeth anymore.
Why Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
There have been several myths about wisdom teeth pushing other teeth out of the way as they erupt, causing affected teeth to shift and overlap. However, there are recent studies that show wisdom teeth do not exert enough pressure to cause teeth to misalign. When wisdom teeth begin to erupt, they can cause growing pains. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause gum tenderness, cavities, and infection. Dentists or oral surgeons often remove impacted wisdom teeth to help avoid these problems.The best way to help avoid shifting and overlapping of your teeth after braces is to consistently wear your retainers as instructed by your orthodontist.