Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars located at the back of the mouth. These teeth typically emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood, and while they may not always cause issues, they can have a significant impact on overall oral health. In this article, iSmile Orthodontics, the specialists in affordable adult and children’s orthodontics in Melbourne, explores the role of wisdom teeth, why they may need to be removed, when extraction becomes necessary, and the implications for individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment like getting metal or invisible braces.
What are Wisdom Teeth For?
Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth were evolutionarily advantageous for our ancestors who consumed a much tougher diet than we do today. However, as our diets have evolved, and with advancements in oral hygiene, the need for these additional molars has disappeared. For many people today, wisdom teeth can be more of a liability than an asset, and so removal of troublesome wisdom teeth has become a common procedure.
What is Their Impact on Tooth Health?
One of the primary reasons wisdom teeth can pose a threat to oral health is their potential to become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth occur when there is not enough space for them to emerge properly, leading to misalignment and potential damage to adjacent teeth. The angulation of these molars can vary, causing them to push against neighbouring teeth, leading to crowding, discomfort, and even damage to the surrounding bone, which is a common issue we manage and treat at iSmile Orthodontics.
Increased Risk of Dental Issues
Impacted wisdom teeth can create a breeding ground for oral health issues. Because they are difficult to clean due to their location at the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth are more prone to decay and gum disease. Infections around impacted wisdom teeth can result in swelling, pain, and difficulty eating or speaking. In severe cases, cysts or tumours may develop around impacted teeth, posing a more significant threat to overall oral health.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?
Not everyone will experience problems with their wisdom teeth, and some individuals may have adequate space for these molars to emerge without causing issues. However, your orthodontist at iSmile Orthodontics will monitor the development of wisdom teeth through regular check-ups and dental X-rays. If there are signs of impaction, misalignment, or potential future problems, a dentist or orthodontist may recommend removal.
The optimal time for wisdom tooth extraction is typically in the late teens or early twenties. At this age, the roots are not fully formed, making the extraction process more straightforward and reducing the risk of complications. Waiting too long to address problematic wisdom teeth can increase the difficulty of extraction and the likelihood of associated complications.
Removal and Recovery
The extraction of wisdom teeth is a common dental procedure, usually performed by oral surgeons. Depending on the complexity of the extraction, local or general anaesthesia may be used to ensure the patient’s comfort.
Recovery from wisdom tooth extraction varies from person to person but generally involves some swelling, discomfort, and a restricted diet for a few days. Following post-operative care instructions, including proper oral hygiene, and avoiding certain foods, is crucial to promoting smooth healing and preventing infection.
Wisdom Teeth and Braces
The presence of wisdom teeth can also impact adult or children’s orthodontics and treatment, especially for if your treatment includes metal or invisible braces. Crowding caused by erupting wisdom teeth can undo the results achieved by braces, leading to misalignment of teeth. In some cases, orthodontists may recommend the removal of wisdom teeth before or during orthodontic treatment to ensure the success and stability of the results.
While not everyone will experience issues with their wisdom teeth, understanding their potential impact on oral health is crucial. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays can help identify potential problems early, allowing for timely intervention. Wisdom tooth extraction, when necessary, can prevent a host of dental issues and contribute to long-term oral health. For those considering orthodontic treatment like braces, addressing wisdom teeth early in the process can help ensure the success and stability of the desired results. Ultimately, the wisdom behind managing wisdom teeth lies in proactive dental care and timely intervention.
Friendly, Affordable Orthodontics for Children and Adults in Melbourne
iSmile Orthodontics in Melbourne is your partner in achieving a confident, radiant smile, whether you are struggling with your wisdom teeth, need metal or invisible braces, or are looking at children’s orthodontics. Our commitment to personalised care begins with a complimentary initial consultation, and we welcome patients without the need for a referral. With our interest-free payment plans, orthodontic treatment becomes accessible to all budgets. Your investment in orthodontics shouldn’t be hindered by financial concerns. Take the first step toward straighter teeth, boosted self-confidence, and improved oral hygiene by contacting our friendly team today to schedule your initial appointment for affordable orthodontics.