Do You Need to Extract Wisdom Teeth Before Getting Invisalign?

More and more people now are choosing Invisalign over braces when it comes to straightening their teeth. Why not? No one can tell that you are fixing your teeth with its clear plastic structure because it’s almost invisible. 

Aside from being a highly effective remedy for teeth straightening, it also corrects crowded teeth, irregular spacing, open bite, underbite, and overbites. One of its advantages is closing the gaps the fastest way, as you keep the same lifestyle. Plus, it proves to be the most hygienic solution because you can remove it when you eat. It’s also easy to clean, remove and put back again. 

The Challenge?

One of the challenges, however, is that a lot of people are getting Invisalign while they are teenagers – just before wisdom teeth start sprouting out of their gums. 

Thus, the question of whether you should extract wisdom teeth before getting Invisalign treatment or wait for the treatment to be over before then considering extracting can be daunting. Obviously, everyone’s situation is different, and it is best to seek professional medical advice. But if you are curious for reasons for potential removal first or braces first, here are some possible reasons.

man invisalign teeth - Do You Need to Extract Wisdom Teeth Before Getting Invisalign?
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Situation When Wisdom Teeth Needs to be Removed Prior to Invisalign Treatment

What are wisdom teeth? These are the upper and lower third molars that grow at the backend of your mouth. They grow during our late teens or early twenties, through our gums – when we’re mature enough to have a little bit of wisdom. 

However, by then, the rest of your adult teeth are probably already in place. This results in the wisdom teeth not growing properly. There will be a lack of space, and unfortunately, the wisdom teeth would usually choose to get stuck at an angle and only partially emerge, known as an impaction. 

If a wisdom tooth does not cause any problems, it does not have to be removed. Besides, it is not scientifically proven that you can get any health benefits by pulling out wisdom teeth. However, if it’s otherwise, you may run into serious dental problems and their are risks of keeping impacted wisdom teeth:

  • If food and bacteria get trapped around the teeth, it can result in plaque build-up, which means tooth decay. 
  • Gum disease if your jaw is not big enough. 
  • Pericoronitis, or the inflammation of the tissue surrounding your wisdom teeth, usually happens in partially impacted molars. 
  • A dental abscess occurs when a pocket of fluid has formed at the tip of a tooth root.
  • With impacted teeth may come cysts, damage to other teeth, and benign growths. 

If antibiotics are not effective in resolving such dental problems or other treatment methods do not work, teeth removal is often recommended. One of the best benefits of having your wisdom tooth removed is to help keep a correct alignment of your teeth. There are thus orthodontic reasons to have wisdom teeth extracted first. For example, one patient has wisdom teeth that were completely sideways, affecting the neighboring tooth under the gums. If this is a problem, it may be best to extract these first before going through with Invisalign. Keeping these wisdom teeth there may cause some setbacks later on that might require further adjustments.  

The decision to remove your wisdom teeth usually relies on the following questions: 

  1. Does it cause damage or pain to your jaw or nearby teeth? 
  2. Do the wisdom teeth prevent neighboring teeth from properly developing?
  3. Would the wisdom teeth interfere with other dental treatments that are planned?
  4. Would your wisdom teeth replace your molars? 

Keep in mind that there are also potential complications and side effects if your wisdom teeth are removed. After a wisdom tooth removal, the most common complications are:

  • Bleeding that might not stop for the next 24 hours.
  • Swelling in your gums where the tooth was removed.
  • Pain by opening your jaw.
  • Damage to your existing dental work.
  • Some numbness in your mouth once the anesthetic wears off.
  • Inflammation to the dry socket.

Anesthetic typically is used during the procedure, but once it wears off, the recovery process lasts for a few days. You should avoid smoking and drinking hot drinks in the first few days to slow the healing process. Instead, go for lukewarm water or chamomile tea. It is also better to avoid hard food and any strenuous physical activities. 

Situation When You Should Wait and Do the Braces Treatment First, Before Then Considering Removing Wisdom Teeth?

The dilemma can be as painful as extracting a wisdom tooth, but the decision to remove wisdom teeth before orthodontic treatment varies from patient to patient. Your mouth and jaws need to be evaluated by an Invisalign dentist who would recommend what is best for you. 

In some cases, it is better to wait to extract a wisdom tooth, do the Invisalign treatment first and then consider extracting a wisdom tooth.

If overcrowding of your teeth is a current problem, getting yourself into orthodontic treatment can help expand your dental arch, which will move your teeth in the proper direction, which means extraction is no longer needed. There is also another case with severe crowding that needs the teeth to be slenderized. In this case, a dentist only needs to remove a tiny portion from one or both sides of one or more teeth, then that patient can go through with Invisalign treatment. In both such cases, there is no need for a wisdom tooth extraction prior to orthodontic treatment.

Many people go through Invisalign treatment without having their wisdom teeth removed. As long as it these wisdom teeth are not causing any problems and your orthodontic treatment team agrees they are safe to keep, you may keep them there with your trays. 

There is no quick fix or fast route in deciding whether wisdom teeth should be extracted before getting Invisalign. What works for one person does not mean it will work for another. A consultation with a dental team such as PacificWest Dental can help provide answers to the question of what treatment approach is best for you.  

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