Although it use to be a popular belief that wisdom teeth caused movement and crowding of all other teeth in the mouth, more and more research is showing that they do not. The research results show that wisdom teeth don’t cause other teeth to move, and it is inappropriate to extract them just for the reason to prevent unwanted dental movements.
The animation above displays a front tooth movement because of the eruption of wisdom teeth. It was an old belief of the dental community, but now we know that wisdom teeth do not cause movement of other teeth.
Research has actually shown that tooth movement in the front teeth occurs naturally in adulthood even if wisdom teeth are not there.
What are wisdom teeth?
Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the furthest teeth away in the back of the mouth. For those teeth to come out into the mouth by erupting fully, and to function fully, there has to be enough space in the upper and lower jaw. But most people do not have enough space, and wisdom teeth remain partially or fully impacted.
When should wisdom teeth be extracted?
As mentioned above, wisdom teeth should not be removed just to prevent other teeth from shifting. Research hasn’t proven that theory. But there are other cases where it’s advised to extract wisdom teeth, especially when they are impacted:
- root resorption of second molars;
- pericoronitis, or infection of the gums that occurs around a semi-erupted wisdom tooth;
- bone defects around a wisdom tooth;
- advanced cavity on a wisdom tooth because of difficulty of reach for proper hygiene;
- cysts (or rarely tumours) around an impacted wisdom tooth;
- upper wisdom teeth should be removed if the lower ones are not there (and vice versa) because they might come out too much and cause problems.
- Southard TE. Third molars and incisor crowding: when removal is unwarranted. J Am Dent Assoc. 1992;123: 75–79.
- DavisOrthodontics (Do wisdom teeth cause crowding of your front teeth?).
- Orthodontistes Lemay (Wisdom teeth – Myths and realities).
- Credit for image and animation (Dolphin imaging).
The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be taken before consulting a health care professional.
The masculine gender may have been more used in the article, but without prejudice, to make reading easier.
Category: questions and answers
- Are dental x-rays safe for pregnant women?
- Are teeth alive?
- At what age do children’s teeth start coming out?
- Can an abscess cause a tooth to break apart?
- Can dry mouth be harmful?
- Can heart disease be related to dental care?
- Can teeth grinding affect children?
- Can wisdom teeth move other teeth?
- Can you drink alcohol after tooth extraction?
- Do you have to remove retainers or orthodontic appliances when you eat?
- Does chewing gum after a meal help eliminating dental plaque?
- Does chewing gum eliminate bad breath?
- For which sports should you use a mouthguard?
- How can smokers take care of their oral health?
- How can you get rid of a tooth abscess?
- How can you get rid of an ulcer or a canker sore on your tongue?
- How can you prevent a tooth abscess?
- How can you reduce the effects of dry mouth?
- How can you tell if you have a tooth abscess?
- How can you tell that you are grinding your teeth?
- How can you tell that you have dry mouth?
- How can you treat a tooth abscess?
- How can you treat dry mouth?
- How can you treat teeth grinding?
- How does smoking affect oral health?
- How does smoking affect overall health?
- How is infective endocarditis related to oral health?
- How long does it bleed after wisdom teeth extraction?
- How long does the numbing last after a dentist appointment?
- How many teeth are there in the mouth?
- How soon after tooth extraction can you use a straw?
- How thin are dental veneers?
- Is a root canal painful?
- Is amalgam in teeth (grey fillings) bad for your health?
- Is it necessary to place a dental crown on a tooth that had a root canal?
- Is it normal for gums to bleed when you brush your teeth?
- Is it painful to place a dental implant in your mouth?
- Is smoking bad for your teeth?
- Is there a relationship between dental problems and overall health problems?
- Should people that had a heart attack take precautions when undergoing dental treatments?
- Should people that have a pacemaker take special precautions with their dental care?
- Should people that have had coronary artery bypass surgery take special precautions with their dental care?
- Should people that suffer from congestive heart failure take special precautions with their dental care?
- Should people with angina take precautions when undergoing dental treatments?
- Should people with high blood pressure take precautions when undergoing dental treatments?
- What are the advantages of silver fillings?
- What are the symptoms of having a tooth abscess?
- What can you eat after wisdom teeth extraction?
- What diseases might cause you to have dry mouth?
- What lasts longer, grey or white fillings?
- What may happen if you don’t treat a cavity?
- What might cause you to grind your teeth?
- What might happen if you don’t treat a tooth abscess?
- When can you eat and drink after a tooth filling?
- When can you play sports after wisdom teeth surgery?
- When can you smoke after a tooth extraction?
- When do dissolvable stitches fall out after wisdom teeth extraction?
- Where does a tooth go after extraction?
- Which is better retainers or braces?
- Why are wisdom teeth called “wisdom teeth”?
- Why is teeth-grinding bad for you?
- Why you should not smoke after tooth extraction?
- Will taking antibiotics make the colour of your teeth darker?