Everyone knows braces straighten your teeth but did you know that sometimes braces need a little help? Sometimes, you end up with a really big gap in your teeth, either naturally or because of tooth loss. Braces can close that gap eventually, but it could take a long time. What if there was a way to speed up the process? There is! We use something called power chains, and they’re a colorful way to bring your teeth into proper alignment faster.
Smiles by the Bay uses power chains to reduce your child’s time in braces. These power chains can close large gaps faster, which reduces the time your child is in braces and makes it easier to align the other teeth quickly and efficiently. They come in a variety of colors, so your kiddo can show off their style with their favorite shades!
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Human teeth used to include three sets of molars, those big teeth in the back of your mouth. The third set, the wisdom teeth, comes in between the ages of 17 and 21. That’s assuming they are there at all.
Over time, our jaws have shrunk, and our food has become easier to chew. Researchers believe this is why humans are evolving to have only two sets of molars. Studies have shown that about a quarter of the world’s population only has 1-3 wisdom teeth instead of all four (two on top, two on bottom). About 35% of the population doesn’t have any at all!
What does that mean for you? You may have wisdom teeth, or you may not. When you come to Smiles by the Bay, we will x-ray your mouth and see if you have wisdom teeth ready to come in or if you’re one of those who don’t have all of them or don’t have any.
Will Wisdom Teeth Crowd My Other Teeth?
The biggest fear our patients have about their wisdom teeth is that they will crowd the others when they come in, destroying all the hard work it took to get their teeth straight in the first place. They also tend to believe that removing their wisdom teeth will set everything right again.
That’s not how it works. In fact, studies have shown that the reason teeth move out of place over the years is because our jaws change shape as we age. We might see the lower teeth grow more crooked than the upper because jaws tend to grow forward. This happens whether you have all four wisdom teeth or none at all.
How Do Power Chains Work?
Power chains work like the other elastics that go on your braces, except they add force to work faster to close specific gaps. Your archwire and elastics will still move your teeth into their proper positions, but the power chains will add a bit of speed to extra wide gaps. This closes them faster so the rest of your treatment can proceed as normal.
How Long Do I Wear Power Chains?
Usually, you will not wear power chains the entire length of your treatment. Once the extra gap has been closed enough to match the rest of your teeth, your braces treatment can proceed without the power chains. So you may wear power chains for a few weeks or months, depending on how many gaps and how big they are.
Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Most patients think that if they have orthodontic treatment, they have to have their wisdom teeth pulled. That’s not the case for the vast majority of extraction cases. Usually, it’s other reasons that bring on the need to have wisdom teeth pulled. The biggest reason is that the patient is in pain because the teeth are coming in wrong. Pain can also occur if the wisdom teeth become impacted (stuck in the bone) or infected. These can not only cause pain but also risk your overall health if infection occurs and spreads. For these reasons, we may recommend removing your wisdom teeth.
Your wisdom teeth sit at the very back of your mouth, where your lower jaw curves up to meet the upper one. Because of this, they sometimes don’t have room to come in properly. They may come in sideways instead of straight up, which can be very painful and lead to infection.
Wisdom teeth can also be impacted, meaning they don’t fully erupt or they just stay stuck in the jaw. This also can be very painful and can lead to infection. Depending on how deep the teeth are impacted, oral surgery may be needed to remove impacted wisdom teeth.
Will Removing My Wisdom Teeth Straighten The Others Out?
Some patients come to us upset that their teeth have moved slightly after their braces or Invisalign have been off for a while. They’re certain wisdom teeth are responsible and that if they have them pulled, their teeth will straighten back out.
The wisdom teeth won’t make your teeth crooked again. If anything, your other teeth will crowd wisdom teeth to the point that they will come in crooked. If your teeth have shifted, it’s likely because you haven’t been wearing your retainers properly.
You are given retainers right after treatment because your teeth will continue to move until your jaw hardens or sets. After all, they’ve been moving for the last couple of years, right? Retainers hold them in place until the jaw sets properly, but that can take up to a year or more. That’s why we ask you to wear your retainers all the time in the first 3-6 months except when eating or brushing your teeth.
If your teeth have shifted, removing your wisdom teeth won’t straighten them out. You may need a few more weeks or months of braces to fix them. We can also use that time to make sure your wisdom teeth are straight, if you have them because you can put braces on wisdom teeth. Luckily, with slight shifts you may be able to wear clear aligners for a few weeks and be done with it. We will examine your case closely and let you know!
Wisdom Teeth and Braces
Yes, you can have braces with wisdom teeth! However, assuming you have wisdom teeth, there may be other reasons why those wisdom teeth need to be removed. How do you know if you need wisdom teeth removed? Smiles by the Bay can find out for you! You can schedule a free consult online to see an Annapolis orthodontist, Kent Island orthodontist, or orthodontist Denton, MD. We’ll perform a full examination and let you know if you need treatment with braces or Invisalign. We can also get an idea of whether there might be any problems with your wisdom teeth coming in or if you even have wisdom teeth! Come see us!