Should My Wisdom Teeth (Third Molars) be Removed to Prevent Crowding?
This is a very common question patients ask Dr. Kevin Wilke after orthodontic treatment is completed. Over the years, numerous studies have been done on the subject. The general consensus is that wisdom teeth do not cause shifting of the front teeth. Rather, today the wisdom teeth are extracted in order to prevent the following:
- Root resorption of second molars
- Bone and gum tissue defects behind second molars
- Decay due to difficulty in brushing/flossing these areas
- Infection around partially erupted wisdom teeth
- Cysts around wisdom teeth
Once your comprehensive orthodontic care is finished, Dr. Wilke monitors your wisdom teeth with periodic x-rays until a decision is made by our office or your general dentist. This usually occurs in the mid to late teens. We find that most people either do not have enough room for them, or the wisdom teeth are tipped (impacted) and hence should be removed before they develop into a problem.
Long-term retainer wear is critical to maintaining the results you achieve during treatment. Whether or not you have wisdom teeth, there is a natural tendency for your teeth to move forward with age, resulting in shifting and crowding of the front teeth. The best way to minimize the effects of this is to occasionally wear your retainers for life. Make them your best friend!