If you’re asking this questions, the good news is that you’re not alone! Wisdom teeth are a
frequent concern for many patients considering clear aligners or braces. People often want
to know whether they will cause an issue during treatment or make their teeth crooked
again in the future. In this blog, we answer both of these questions and share all you need
to know about wisdom teeth.
1. What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that grow at the back of your jaw. The problem is
that human evolution over time has reduced the size of the jaws, which means less and less
space is available at the back for the wisdom teeth to grow into a favourable position. What
often happens is the wisdom teeth will try their best to squeeze into place, but won’t have
enough space and become ‘stuck’ when only partly erupted into the mouth. It is possible for
wisdom teeth to be completely problem-free, but some people experience discomfort or
other problems from their wisdom teeth.
2. Do I need to remove my wisdom teeth before I start aligner treatment?
No. While some dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth before wearing clear aligners,
the best available dental research recommends against removing your wisdom teeth. It is
only recommended to remove your wisdom teeth if they have:
(a) caused you two (or more) episodes of pain or one episode of severe pain,
(b) if the wisdom tooth has decay which cannot be restored
(c) if you are experiencing some other rarer problems.
It is important to remember that there are risks involved in removing wisdom teeth,
including pain, swelling, bleeding, difficulty in opening your mouth fully afterwards and
infection. There is also the cost of the procedure and the inconvenience and recovery time
involved to be considered. The risk versus benefit of removing wisdom teeth therefore does
not justify removing them simply to straighten your teeth.
At Selfie, we try to follow the best available evidence for all our customers. The full
guidelines we use are developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
(NICE) and can be downloaded from here:
3. Should I have my wisdom teeth removed to prevent my teeth becoming crooked after
I finish my aligner treatment?
Many people still consider it possible for wisdom teeth to cause crowding of the front teeth,
especially the lower front teeth. The reason this is a common perception is that crowding of
the lower front teeth tends to happen to everyone in their early 20’s, just at the same time
that the wisdom teeth often start to appear! This led to even dentists believing the tooth
coming up was ‘pushing’ all the teeth forwards and contributing to this problem.
Nowadays, a lot of research has been done into this phenomenon. It has been found that
even in people who don’t have any wisdom teeth, this crowding of the lower front teeth still
happens! This means that there are other factors which cause this crowding at the front.
The other interesting finding from research is that wisdom teeth only push upwards into the
mouth with a force of about 10 grams. For reference, this is only about half the weight of
small packet of crisps! It takes about 30 to 50 grams of force to tilt a single tooth out of the
way, so if you think of all the teeth in front of the wisdom teeth that would have to be
pushed out of the way, it makes sense that the wisdom teeth are not to blame for causing
crowding of all the lower teeth!
Finally, there are many reasons why your dentist might recommend that you remove your
wisdom teeth, and if you have any doubts don’t be afraid to ask. At Selfie, all our partner
dentists follow the most up-to-date research evidence to support decisions regarding your
treatment. We hope you find this information helpful and are reassured that you don’t need
to remove your wisdom teeth just because you want to have your teeth straightened.
Selfie is a clear aligner company focused on changing the way customer access and
experience cosmetic teeth straightening services in Asia. Selfie’s Smart Dentistry technology
simplifies the traditional clinic experience to require only a single visit and makes a fully
remote home experience possible. If you’d like to learn more, visit them at www.selfie.co.th
or follow them on Twitter (@selfie.th) and Instagram (@selfie.th).