December 25, 2012 • Article • Comments Off
PRIOR LAKE, LAKEVILLE AND MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – When you think about it, it’s amazing how much information we accept as factual, only to learn later that it’s a myth, or research is lacking to make a determination.
Shaved hair grows back thicker and faster. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Reading in dim light damages eyesight. These are things we’ve long viewed as gospel truths. We’ve got another to add to the list: wisdom teeth must be removed to prevent them from making your teeth crooked.
Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth have been held responsible for incisor crowding for more than 150 years, according to an American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons white paper on third molar data. In addition to being a concept widely accepted by the general public, many oral surgeons and orthodontists also believe it.
Today we’re exploring this myth, because it’s a concern many patients raise with orthodontist in St. Paul area.
“On the surface, it seems to make sense,” says Dr. Trudy Bonvino, who specializes in pediatric orthodontics and treatment for adults.
Most of our patients are children and adolescents. Some of them haven’t lost all of their baby teeth yet, while others have all their adult teeth except the wisdom teeth, which haven’t yet erupted. So it may seem reasonable that if you’ve completed orthodontic treatment, your teeth are beginning to become crowded again, and your wisdom teeth begin to erupt, they’re the culprit.
“There is research that refutes and supports this notion,” says Dr. Bonvino, who also provides braces in Minneapolis. “However, much of the supporting research suggests while wisdom teeth may play some role in crowding, the role might not be clinically significant.”
Research performed at the University of Iowa by Dr. Tom Southard, a professor who heads the Department of Orthodontics, found that wisdom teeth fail to exert enough pressure on the teeth in front of them to shift them out of alignment.
Those who authored the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons white paper pointed out that there is a dearth of evidence thanks to a lack of studies designed in a fashion to isolate the wisdom teeth’s effect from all other factors potentially associated with crowding.
“Therefore, a cause and effect relationship between third molars and dental crowding is difficult to establish,” the paper states.
Wisdom teeth typically are seen as unnecessary and should be removed. But that belief may be shifting, according to Dr. Ruben Cohen, a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He wrote an article for Huffpost Healthy Living in 2011 that addressed the debate of whether wisdom teeth need extracting. He offered several factors people can consider and ask their dentist, orthodontist or oral surgeon when determining whether they will have their wisdom teeth pulled.
Those factors include:
- Second molar health; whether they’re compromised by wisdom teeth’s position.
- Pocket depth behind the second molars. This can make gum disease more likely.
- Patient age. Complications and recovery time increase with age.
While it is likely that third molars play some sort of role- albeit minor- in causing crowding, they are just one factor to consider when determining whether the wisdom teeth should be removed, the white paper states.
“Even after orthodontic treatment is completed, some people will experience shifting teeth throughout their lives, particularly if they don’t wear their retainers periodically,” Dr. Bonvino says. “So maybe before you blame your wisdom teeth for the problem, you should think about whether you’ve been wearing your retainer.”
© 2012 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Jennifer Eisenhuth. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Jennifer Eisenhuth are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this press release is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.