Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed Before I Get Braces?

Should we have our wisdom teeth removed before or after braces? The obvious concern is that if braces are started before wisdom teeth come in, they could interfere with the corrections that the braces are doing. If there is a lack of space as wisdom teeth emerge, they can become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can develop painful cysts resulting in infection and the decay of surrounding tooth roots. The question becomes whether or not parents should wait to have braces started in their young teens. Here are a few useful thoughts to consider when making this important decision.

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Wisdom teeth typically do not emerge until around the age of 16. Patients who wait on braces until wisdom teeth emerge can end up dealing with more complicated orthodontic treatments. The longer the treatment is prolonged, the more complex and more expensive it can become.

Another key consideration to think about braces and wisdom teeth removal is that tooth overcrowding can often be diagnosed very early. An orthodontist may recommend having wisdom teeth removed if they are close enough to the surface. It is considered routine to have wisdom teeth removed even while braces are being worn.

Do I Need To Have My Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

Wisdom teeth that have fully erupted in a healthy way or that have grown perfectly typically do not need to be removed. If the wisdom tooth hasn’t been grown in the right place or cannot be cleaned during daily brushing, it has to be extracted before damaging surrounding tissues.

The American Dental Association advises that wisdom tooth extraction if they experience any of the following conditions:

  1. Excessive tooth decay
  2. Damage to nearby teeth caused by crowded molars
  3. Various forms of gum disease are experienced
  4. Fluid-filled cysts or sacks, as well as tumors, have been detected
  5. Constant, chronic, or persistent pain
  6. Soft tissue located behind wisdom teeth repeatedly becomes infected

– Wisdom Teeth Grow Fully Impacted

An oral surgeon may recommend that you have your wisdom teeth pulled if there is simply not enough space for them to grow in properly. When there is inadequate space for wisdom teeth to develop normally problems can arise. They can grow at different angles in the jaw. In some more severe cases, wisdom teeth may actually even grow in horizontally. 

Chronic Gum Disease

Wisdom teeth must be pulled when any of these abnormal conditions result in an infection or a cyst. This can eventually damage other teeth and their roots or supporting bone mass. Wisdom teeth must also be extracted in most cases if they only emerge through the gums partially. They can eventually crowd and disturb surrounding teeth. Overcrowding can damage nearby teeth.

Is it better to remove wisdom teeth early?

Having wisdom teeth pulled has proven to be safe and very successful over the many years and decades that this type of procedure has been performed. The procedure can be used to prevent the crowding of back teeth as well as to reduce the incidence of swollen, red, or painful gums. Having wisdom teeth pulled is usually the best option for those who have impacted molars that were never able to break through the gums. Talking with your dental care provider or oral surgeon to discuss all options is usually the first step in taking a more proactive approach to dealing with non-normal wisdom tooth development.

Younger Aged Patients Simply Recover Faster

 Most dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth at a younger age. This is because it makes the procedure easier and more successful overall since the roots and bone have not fully formed. In addition, younger aged patients will recover faster following surgery. In other cases, preventative surgery is accomplished in young adults as a way to preclude wisdom tooth-related problems later in life.

How long does it take to recover from a wisdom tooth extraction?

Patients should also fully understand the routine risks associated with having wisdom teeth pulled. For example, this type of surgical procedure usually results in swelling of the gums and tooth socket along with moderate pain. The good news is that recovery is usually very fast and within just a few days the patient is essentially fully recovered. That said there are some cases where slow healing gums or persistent bleeding does occur. When this happens it is essential to talk with your dental care provider or oral surgeon as soon as possible.

Patients who have recently had wisdom tooth extraction surgery should continue brushing their teeth normally but gently. It is also important to avoid drinking from a straw as this can delay healing and possibly even loosen a blood clot. One of the best ways to facilitate good healing after wisdom tooth surgery is to gently rinse with warm salty water several times throughout the day. This helps to relieve pain and reduce swelling so that healing can occur in a faster and healthier way. Patients should avoid participating in sports or physical activities immediately following having a wisdom tooth pulled.

Finally, to further improve the probability of a rapid recovery and complete healing it is recommended to avoid lying flat while resting or sleeping. It is better to prop up the head with pillows or even sleep in a recliner chair for the first few nights. Lying flat can only serve to unnecessarily prolong bleeding at the site of the surgical procedure. Some patients may find added relief by using an ice pack on the outside of the cheek. Ice should be applied about every 20 minutes for short durations for the first 24 hours following surgery. Any time there are questions or concerns following surgery it is best to contact your oral surgeon or dental care provider as soon as possible.