Many teens need their wisdom teeth out before they can get braces. But this procedure should wait for many younger patients until long after their orthodontia is complete.
The factors that determine whether your child needs to see the oral surgeon before their braces go on include their age, the condition of their wisdom teeth and the recommendation of the orthodontist and oral surgeon.
Healthy Wisdom Teeth Aren’t a Problem for Braces
Although most people eventually need to have their wisdom teeth — also known as the third molars — removed, some patients are lucky enough to have third molars that come in perfectly straight and healthy.
Healthy molars don’t affect the bite, so they won’t interfere with orthodontic work.
Why Wisdom Tooth Extraction May Be Recommended
Wisdom tooth removal isn’t necessary for everyone. But for kids who need braces, proactive extraction is advised.
Braces straighten the teeth by applying constant pressure. For orthodontic treatment to be effective, teeth need to have some room to move. Emerging third molars can create a crowded situation that works against the braces.
In addition, the orthodontist or oral surgeon may recommend extraction to protect future oral health. As the third molars emerge, they frequently become impacted, or stuck in the gums. And if the wisdom teeth are left in place, teens are at an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
Should Braces Come After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Braces don’t have to wait for wisdom teeth removal; the procedure can be scheduled later, if it becomes necessary.
Many people undergo orthodontic treatment when they are young, when their third molars haven’t yet begun to erupt. Extracting them usually isn’t required at this point. As time goes by, when or if the wisdom teeth become a problem, they can be removed — even if the braces are still in place.
Ultimately, the decision to remove the third molars is one you should make in conjunction with your oral surgeon and orthodontist. Every patient is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment approach for preserving oral and dental health during orthodontia.
The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah works with most Salt Lake City area orthodontists to develop long-term, comprehensive treatment plans for teens who need braces. Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, are committed to providing the highest standard of care to every patient. You can rely on us to help make sure your teen has a healthy, beautiful smile.
Contact one of our northern Utah offices today — conveniently located in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — and schedule a consultation to discuss wisdom tooth extraction for your teen.