Wisdom teeth are an unavoidable aspect of maturation, and they typically cause problems because they erupt in the wrong direction. You’ve surely heard that dentists frequently propose surgical removal of these third teeth. However, if you are contemplating having your wisdom teeth extracted, there is an alternative method available: clear aligners.
Patients with veneers, bridges, crowns, or other dental restorations are often still acceptable candidates for removable clear aligners. In some instances, candidates with missing teeth can still be potential clear aligner candidates; in such cases, an orthodontist can use tooth-colored pontic wax to fill in the gaps where the missing teeth would be.
However, what role do wisdom teeth play in this equation? Would their presence influence treatment eligibility, be of little consequence, or vary from instance to case? Similarly, is there a best time to get your wisdom teeth extracted with aligners?
What are the Impact of Wisdom Teeth on Aligners?
Wisdom teeth, often among the most impacted teeth, are the last set of molars, which frequently fail to erupt due to mouth space limitations. As with the appendix in relation to other organs, they do not perform a purpose that is readily discernible for modern humans. They are atypical relative to other teeth since they normally begin growing later (after age 7).
These teeth often begin erupting between the ages of 17 and 21, a time frame that may overlap with a patient’s pursuit of treatment with removable clear aligners. Fortunately, asymptomatic, painless wisdom teeth rarely interfere with clear aligner treatment.
In most cases, the presence of wisdom teeth will not hinder the progression of treatment. Before fitting you with clear aligners, your orthodontist can undertake an x-ray check to see if the wisdom tooth could cause future complications.
Even if the wisdom teeth erupt and are extracted during clear aligner treatment, it should not impede development in the majority of instances, since the orthodontist can trim the aligner and leave space for the erupted tooth or surgery site.
Should My Wisdom Teeth Be Removed Before Getting Aligners?
Studies indicate that approximately 85 percent of people will require extraction of their wisdom teeth at some point in their lifespan. Therefore, unless you’re one of the unusual 15%, extraction of your wisdom teeth is likely to be an eventual necessity in your smile journey. The following symptoms may prompt a doctor to urge removal of wisdom teeth:
- Putting pressure on adjacent teeth
- Gum disease and inflammation
- cavities and/or tooth loss
- Jaw discomfort and tingling
- Cysts or/and tumors
- difficulty biting and eating
- Headaches and earaches are severe.
- Chronic foul breath caused by decay and disease
In certain instances, not only could the presence of wisdom teeth be problematic for your clear aligners, but also for the health of your mouth. Therefore, your dentist or orthodontist may propose that you have your wisdom teeth extracted as a precaution: even if no problems emerge, it can be preferable to be safe than sorry, given how frequently extractions are necessary.
Although extraction could occur at any point in the treatment timetable (depending on the diagnosis), you may want to get it over with sooner rather than later.
Will Removing Wisdom Teeth Straighten Teeth?
Even if the presence of wisdom teeth did not interfere with the smiling journey throughout orthodontic treatment, is there still a potential that they could affect the final results? Wisdom teeth often have less room to erupt than normal teeth, and this added pressure could cause crowding, spacing, and shifting concerns, correct? Not at all
People may think that their alignment has moved after having their wisdom teeth out, although this is only a perspective. The alignment of your bite may feel different after extraction, although extraction does not significantly align or misalign the teeth, nor does leaving them in.
You may still choose to have them out for indirect orthodontic treatment issues, including as pain or periodontal disease, although there is little evidence that wisdom teeth directly alter occlusal alignment.
With the pressure removed, you may feel a bit more space in your bite, but consistent retainer use will have a greater influence on preventing post-treatment outcomes from slipping into orthodontic relapse.
Is the Extraction of Wisdom Teeth Covered by Insurance?
The cost to remove wisdom teeth normally ranges from a few hundred dollars to little over one thousand dollars, depending on a variety of factors.
- Case difficulty
- number of teeth that must be extracted
- Exams and x-rays
- Location of the supplier
- Size of the eruption
The good news is that the majority of dental insurance policies pay a percentage of the cost of wisdom teeth removal and oral surgical treatments if they are deemed medically essential! However, you should always call your insurance provider directly to confirm whether or not they cover wisdom tooth extraction.
Even if you do not have dental insurance, you still have options for covering at least a portion of the expense. Wisdom teeth extraction is covered by flexible spending accounts (FSAs), FSAs for limited care, and health savings accounts (HSAs). Additionally, your orthodontist may be ready to compromise by offering a flexible, low-cost monthly payment plan.
Prior to worrying about the cost of any necessary procedures, it is essential to confirm if there is something to worry about. Consulting a reliable, licensed orthodontist is one way to confirm this.
During your initial, complimentary appointment for clear aligner treatment, you should not be hesitant to inquire as to whether or not the existence of your wisdom teeth could cause complications. Your orthodontist can then determine whether or not extraction of your wisdom teeth is essential.