31 August 2022
Are your gums swollen, bleeding or tender around your wisdom teeth area? Do you suffer from jaw pain and earache? Do you experience pain around your wisdom teeth when you chew or swallow? If you answer yes to any of these questions then it might be a sign that you have impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can develop from several reasons and shape your oral health in many ways as well. In this article, we delve deep and explore everything you need to know about impacted wisdom teeth, from the complications, treatments and how it can affect your dental braces or Invisalign aligners treatment in Singapore.
What is Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth are third molars that lack room to emerge or grow normally at the back of your mouth. Damage to other teeth or pain can result from impacted wisdom teeth, though sometimes, they may not cause any visible or immediate problems. Nevertheless, they tend to be more vulnerable to gum diseases and cavities compared to other teeth as they are harder to clean.
There are two types of wisdom teeth impactions – soft tissue impaction and bony impaction. Soft tissue impaction occurs when the gum obstructs wisdom teeth from growing healthily. It happens more often when the upper wisdom teeth are erupting. On the other hand, a bony impaction is more common on the bottom wisdom teeth and presents itself in three forms – vertical impaction, mesial impaction and horizontal impaction.
Vertical Impaction – impacted tooth grows vertically but lacks adequate space to erupt healthily.
Mesial Impaction – impacted tooth grows at an angle towards the front of the mouth.
Horizontal Impaction – impacted tooth grows horizontally beneath the gums.
Addressing Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Should you suspect yourself of having impacted wisdom teeth, the next course of action would be to visit an orthodontist to advise you on the following steps you should take. Your orthodontist will monitor your teeth for decay or other complications and let you know if removal is necessary. Leaving the condition as is without getting the required treatment can lead to issues such as pericoronitis, damage to other teeth and more. Hence, it is always recommended to consult your orthodontist as quickly as possible.
How does Impacted Wisdom Teeth Affect Braces or Invisalign Treatment
For patients who are planning to get dental braces or Invisalign in Singapore before their wisdom teeth have grown in, there is no need to wait for them to develop. There is usually no cause for concern that the impacted wisdom teeth will undo treatment done prior. As wisdom teeth exert little force when growing, they will not push other teeth out of the way. Any impacted wisdom teeth that require extraction in the future will also not affect dental braces or Invisalign treatment that was done before. Usually, shifting of the teeth after dental braces or Invisalign is not a result of impacted wisdom teeth but a natural movement of our teeth as we age. This is why it is so important to regularly wear our retainers to maintain the position of our teeth after dental braces and Invisalign treatment.
With regards to patients who are only getting their dental braces or Invisalign treatment after their wisdom teeth have developed, removal is only recommended if they are impacting the teeth and causing oral problems.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pockets that trap food, which increases the risk of infections and decay, affecting surrounding teeth near the area. Pericoronitis (flares or gum infections around the wisdom teeth) creates the possibility of not being able to wear Invisalign aligners, thus, compromising and potentially prolonging overall treatment.
Is it necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth before getting dental braces or Invisalign?
Ultimately, the decision of surgically extracting impacted wisdom teeth before getting dental braces or Invisalign aligners varies for each individual and depends on the severity of the impaction.
If your impacted wisdom teeth do not create issues that negatively affect other teeth or oral health, we typically will not recommend extraction.
In addition, the good thing about Invisalign is its ability to distalise the teeth backwards when there is enough space, which helps to avoid the need for extraction as much as possible.
To make a well-informed choice, consult your orthodontist to learn more and discuss treatment plans according to your needs.
MyBracesClinic provides dental diagnostics and treatments for a variety of dental problems . Contact us today for more information!
About Dr Chong Hui Theng
Master’s Degree in Orthodontics
Dr Chong is a certified provider in Invisalign and Incognito lingual braces.
She obtained her Masters in Orthodontics degree with honours from the University of Sydney and has received numerous prestigious awards.
She has also published in international orthodontic journals.
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