For some people, wisdom teeth emerge and simply become another set of fully-functioning teeth. For others however, wisdom teeth cause a variety of issues including infection, pain, and the realignment of teeth. Braces have helped address a variety of orthodontic problems for decades; helping to straighten and perfect your teeth. But what happens when you need braces and you have wisdom teeth? Can you get braces with wisdom teeth? Read on to find everything you need to know.
Your mouth goes through many dental milestones in a lifetime but receiving your wisdom teeth is considered the last one. Each person has 4 wisdom teeth total; a set located on the top jaw and one on the bottom. Wisdom teeth emerge behind your last set of molars and they are your third, and final set. They can grow-in and become functional parts of your dental system or cause an array of problems.
Why Do You Get Wisdom Teeth?
No one is certain about the exact reason for our wisdom teeth, but evidence leads scientists to believe they are related to evolution. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors’ diets were much different. Early-humans ate mostly hard, raw things like nuts, meat, and roots. Over time, wisdom teeth may have been developed to give humans another set of molars to chew with; an evolutionary-change needed for adaptation.
Since then, human diets have changed dramatically and there is no longer a need for this third-set of molars. They are not medically-necessary to today’s humans. In fact, a small percentage of people today are born completely without wisdom teeth. Scientists believe that this is due to another evolutionary adaptation, since humans no-longer need them.
When Do You Get Wisdom Teeth?
While everyone is different, wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge between 17-21 years of age, or during your late-teens to early-adulthood. You do not receive your wisdom teeth until you’ve matured or reached adulthood, and this is the reason for the nickname “wisdom” teeth.
How Do Wisdom Teeth Affect Your Teeth?
A normally-erupting tooth can cause pain and discomfort as it is breaking-through. But once a normally-erupting wisdom tooth is through, it simply adds another set of molars to your chewing-force. However, it may surprise you that that does not happen most-often. In fact, most human’s mouths are not ideally-designed for wisdom teeth and usually lack the space necessary for them.
When your wisdom teeth do not have enough room to grow-in, become infected, or are impacted (growing crooked, or blocked), they can cause a variety of problems in even the healthiest and straightest of mouths. Wisdom teeth can force your other teeth to become crooked, misaligned, etc. So, how do they affect your orthodontic needs?
Can You Get Braces with Wisdom Teeth?
This question does not come with a one-size-fits-all answer, since every person’s dental well-being is different. A wide variety of factors can affect decisions about wisdom teeth and braces. For example, did you get braces before or after your wisdom teeth came in? Are they erupting while you currently wear braces? Do you already have your wisdom teeth and are wondering if can you get braces with wisdom teeth?
If your wisdom teeth are erupting as they should and your mouth is not at-risk for overcrowding or further misalignment, your dentist will probably leave the wisdom teeth alone. In the past, dentists tended to live by a “when in doubt, take it out” attitude. Today, dentists typically only want to remove wisdom teeth if they are infected or creating other problems inside of the mouth. If they are growing-in perfect, they will leave them alone.
If you already have braces when your wisdom teeth come in, you may not have to worry at-all. Since braces work to realign your mouth and teeth, you may find that your wisdom teeth will be “trained” to come-in as they should, since there is enough room and space. If those wisdom teeth are poorly affecting the progress of your current braces, your dentist may opt to extract them.
But what if your wisdom teeth are growing-in (or have grown-in) and you need braces? Your dentist will perform x-rays to check the status of your wisdom teeth. He or she may want to wait until your teeth are fully erupted to place the braces. If the x-rays show that your wisdom teeth could do damage or are growing in crooked, he or she may decide to extract them before you get braces.
All About Braces: Why You Need Them and the Types of Braces
Braces are orthodontic tools or instruments that hold teeth in place. They can consist of bands, wires, and brackets, but the overall purpose is always to control (and fix) the movement of your teeth. Braces work by slowly re-aligning and moving your teeth so that they have they room they need and are properly aligned.
When you get braces, you typically make many trips to the dentist or orthodontist, because the braces require frequent readjustment to continuously-align your teeth. The wires of the braces are durable and used to apply pressure to the right areas of your mouth to move it in the right direction. The bands of the braces are used to help keep your teeth and mouth lined-up and straight.
The amount of time required for wearing braces varies by person. Each person’s needs and treatment will be unique to them, but braces are typically needed for at least a few years. The type of treatment and severity of your needs will also determine the type of braces you need.
Types of Braces
- Metal/traditional. These braces are the most commonly-used type, and they consist of the stereotypical parts that you assume braces have: metal brackets, wires, and bands. These are the least-expensive, most-noticeable type.
- Ceramic. These braces use the same parts as traditional braces, but they consist of tooth-colored or clear brackets that blend into the teeth and help the braces look less-noticeable. They move your teeth faster than traditional types but are more expensive.
- Lingual. These braces work the same way as traditional braces, but the wires and brackets are places on the interior of the teeth instead of the exterior. This means they are invisible to the outside but tend to take longer than traditional types.
- Clear/removable. These braces have become extremely popular, but they do not work on people with serious dental problems. They consist of clear, mouth-guards that slowly align your teeth. They are also one of the most expensive options.
- Palatal Expanders. These are not technically braces but can be used in-conjunction with them. Palatal expanders can be word to gradually move your teeth when your mouth is overcrowded. Expanders are typically used before using other types of braces.
Braces are designed to guide, adjust, and help your mouth and teeth to regain their natural, beautiful-state. Wisdom teeth can certainly put a wrench in your perfectly-planned teeth, especially when they have plans of their own. If you’re concerned about the effects that braces and your wisdom teeth will have on your dental-health, consult your dental and orthodontic team right away.