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DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

Wisdom Teeth Crowding

Many times, we may start to notice our bottom front teeth crowding as those wisdom teeth start to come in. You may start to wonder – could that be what is crowding my teeth and “pushing them forward”? At Dental Reflections Dublin, we see the crowding all the time, and we often hear it from patients even later in life. They will tell us their bottom front teeth were always straight whether they had braces, but once those wisdom teeth started coming in, they started crowding. The average age for wisdom teeth to come in is 17-22 but it can most definitely be earlier or later. That leaves us with the burning question…

Do Wisdom Teeth Crowd Your Other Teeth?

Long story short, the answer is no. I know the timing can correlate together, however, the wisdom teeth do not push all the other teeth forward as they are making their way in. Either they have room to come in or they don’t. A study was done and published in The Scientific World Journal that included patients with impacted (teeth under the gums), erupted (teeth in the mouth), extracted, or congenitally missing wisdom teeth. These studies included cross-sectional and longitudinal, and there was no difference between the two groups. What this means is whether someone ever had wisdom teeth form, they still noticed crowding and that these teeth are not the cause.

What Causes the Crowding?

As we age, our mandible continues to grow. Have you ever noticed an older person with larger ears and nose? This is because they also continue to grow as our jaw does. Have you also noticed how older people have a pointier chin and crowded teeth in the front? I know, I know, no you are thinking ages 17-22 is not old. That is correct. Our jaw goes through growth spurts just like the rest of our body. Ages 17-22 is one of those times. Therefore, more people will notice the teeth beginning to crowd at that age. For some it’s later, everyone is different. Another study was done following patients for 12 years after their braces came off. The study found that after just 10 years of removal of all retention (permanent or removable retainers no longer being used), more than 70% were classified as showing moderate to severe crowding.

How Can This Crowding Be Prevented?

The ultimate way to prevent teeth from crowding is a retainer. This is recommended whether a patient has had braces or not. Permanent retainers are most common for post ortho patients, while removable retainers are great for those who have never had retainers. Crowding is not just a cosmetic concern but also puts a patient at risk for gum disease. Crowding makes it much harder to keep the teeth clean, therefore infecting the gums as well. Orthodontics, or braces, are the only way to correct the crowding and are a great option to consider. If you are concerned about your teeth shifting, contact us today for a consultation on retainers, Invisalign or options for orthodontics.