adult male with braces

January 11, 2016

Adult Orthodontics: Do Wisdom Teeth Have to be Removed?

Dr. Jorge Peralta is frequently asked by our Seattle-area adult patients if they need to have their wisdom teeth removed before beginning orthodontic treatment.  The short answer is “no”. The great majority of our adult patients can have their orthodontic treatment completed while they still have their wisdom teeth.  The exceptions are when the condition and position of the wisdom teeth impact the health of nearby teeth or the bite.


Wisdom teeth, or third molars, typically erupt between the ages of 18 and 25. Not all wisdom teeth actually succeed in erupting due to lack of space in the mouth. These are called “impacted” wisdom teeth and with adult patients, Dr. Peralta first considers if extracting them may cause more issues than leaving them alone. This is thoroughly evaluated and explained to you at the time of your treatment discussion.


It is perfectly acceptable to have wisdom teeth extracted slightly before beginning orthodontic treatment or even during treatment. If you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment while you still have your wisdom teeth, Dr. Peralta may recommend their removal after your treatment has ended for the following potential reasons:


  • They can be painful when erupting
  • They can be difficult to clean
  • They are prone to extensive tooth decay that can transfer to nearby teeth
  • Soft tissue infection can occur
  • Cysts (fluid-filled sacs) may surround them and cause issues
  • Gum disease can occur

A misconception is that wisdom teeth eruption will cause tooth crowding.  Many studies show that the wisdom teeth do not exert enough force to cause the front teeth to crowd. Additionally, research has documented that teeth will drift forward and crowd over time regardless if wisdom teeth are extracted or not. This is why wearing retainers for life is crucial to maintaining your results!


Rest assured that if you are and adult in the greater Seattle area who is interested in orthodontic treatment and still have your wisdom teeth, Dr. Peralta will evaluate your specific case, craft a timeline and advise you on the steps to making your smile as healthy and beautiful as it can be. Request a free consultation online or call us to see if you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment!