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When is it a smart time to have wisdom teeth removed?

Nearly every growing smile goes through some sort of braces treatment. Similarly, having wisdom teeth removed is a common childhood dental procedure. However, each plays a significant role in your child’s developing smile and bite alignment. Which of these traditional rites of passage for young adults should come first? Read on as your local orthodontist explains everything you need to know about the proper timing of wisdom tooth extractions in Richardson.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are vestigial and no longer needed in day-to-day human life. In most cases, the average person’s jaw is too small to accommodate them. While wisdom teeth can sometimes grow in correctly and comfortably, it’s much more common that they need to be removed for the sake of the other teeth. If they grow in crookedly or are trapped in the jaw, they can cause:

  • Damage and discomfort to the other teeth.
  • Crowding and misalignment of teeth.
  • Cysts in the jaw, which can cause permanent damage.
  • Sinus cavity problems.
  • Hard to clean areas, inflamed gums, pockets of bacteria, and an increase in oral health issues.

Do wisdom teeth need to be extracted before braces?

Whether a person’s wisdom teeth should be removed before, during, or after their orthodontic treatment depends on their unique situation. Typically, children receive braces once they have all their permanent teeth, between the ages of eight and 14. On the other hand, wisdom teeth are usually spotted and extracted in adolescence, between the ages of 17 and 25. In general, this means that most children undergo braces first, then have their wisdom teeth extracted afterwards before the straightened teeth are influenced.

However, if you’re getting orthodontic treatment later in life, developing wisdom teeth may need to be removed beforehand to safeguard the process and results. It’s also not unheard of to have third molars extracted while the patient is wearing braces.

When should wisdom teeth be taken out?

Most dental professionals recommend that a child see an orthodontist when they are seven years old. This gives the orthodontist enough time to determine what type of treatment your son or daughter may need and keep an eye on the development of wisdom teeth. However, signs that wisdom teeth need to be removed include:

  • Chronic bad breath from a buildup of bacteria.
  • Dull ache, pain, or tenderness in the mouth or jaw.
  • Inflammation of the gum tissue in the back of the mouth.
  • Crowding, shifting, sensitive, or damaged teeth.
  • Inexplicable headaches or earaches.

If you’re concerned about when you or your child should undergo wisdom teeth removal, talk to your Richardson orthodontist. They can help discover any problems that may be developing underneath the gumline and help you achieve the happy, healthy smile you deserve!

About the author

At Breckinridge Dental in Richardson, TX, we are committed to helping your smile look and feel its best for years to come. Our in-house orthodontist Dr. Judy Choi is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and has completed additional advanced training at the University of California, San Francisco. She diligently stays current with the newest orthodontic techniques and technology to ensure she can provide a wonderful orthodontic experience for each of her patients. If you have more questions or concerns about wisdom teeth extractions or braces, she can be reached at her website or at (972) 248-9119.

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