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Do the Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed Before Getting Braces?

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young girl with braces A common concern many parents have about their child getting braces revolves around their wisdom teeth. Wouldn’t it be smart to wait until the wisdom teeth come in, have them removed, and then begin braces? While this might seem to make a lot of sense, in most cases, an orthodontist in Powell will recommend that a child start braces before their wisdom teeth are removed. This can lead to a much smoother experience for the child, the parent, and it can make treatment much shorter and less complicated overall. How so? Read on to learn why waiting is not always the best approach when it comes to orthodontics.  

Why Parents Shouldn’t Wait

Most adults and teens end up having their wisdom teeth removed because there simply isn’t enough room for them in the mouth. These large molars were very handy for our cavemen ancestors whose rough diet mostly consisted of tough roots and barely cooked meats, but these days, they tend to just push on the nearby teeth and cause oral pain.

So, why should a parent have their child start braces even before they’ve had their wisdom teeth removed? Firstly, the wisdom teeth usually come in around the late teens or early twenties, which is long after most children are recommended to start braces. In most cases, a child is able to begin and finish a braces treatment years before their wisdom teeth come in.

Plus, waiting for the wisdom teeth to erupt and be removed can allow a relatively minor orthodontic issue to become much more severe. Also, shifting the teeth is a slower and more difficult process with teens and young adults versus children because the bones naturally thicken as someone ages.

And, even if a child has their wisdom teeth removed when they are 17 or 18, starting braces at this point can present a logistical issue due to a little thing called college. Many children at this age end up moving away for school, so this forces the child to either drive back and forth to see their home orthodontist or get a new one closer to school. Many orthodontists charge a flat rate for braces, so even if your child is well into their treatment, a local orthodontist may want you to pay like they are starting over.

Why Parents Shouldn’t Fear the Wisdom Teeth

Thanks to modern dentistry, the wisdom teeth aren’t as much of a nuisance as they used to be. During your child’s regular checkups, their dentist will take X-rays and keep a close eye on their wisdom teeth. Once they start to come in, they can be removed well before they start to shift the neighboring teeth. A wisdom tooth extraction can even be performed while someone has braces without disrupting the treatment. Whenever your child goes to see their orthodontist for a progress check, the doctor will be able to determine whether or not the wisdom teeth need to come out. If they do, your child will be referred to an oral surgeon, and their treatment will keep flowing smoothly.

So, if you know that your child needs braces, you don’t have to wait on or worry about their wisdom teeth. During your child’s first orthodontic consultation, if the orthodontist thinks that the wisdom teeth will be a problem during their treatment, they can organize to have them removed if necessary, though this is rarely needed when braces are started at a young age.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is an award-winning orthodontist based in Powell, and he has helped countless children achieve straight, healthy smiles over the course of his career. When you bring your child to Shirck Orthodontics for their FREE first consultation, we’ll be sure to take X-rays and let you know if their wisdom teeth need to come out. We’ll make sure that nothing gets in the way of your child’s treatment! If you have any questions about what you’ve just read, or if you’re ready to schedule a FREE consultation, contact us today.