The point of braces is to change the configuration of your bite, collectively moving individual teeth into the desired alignment. But perhaps not all your teeth should be moved, since not all your teeth are strictly necessary for a healthy bite. So how do braces work in relation to your wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth may have erupted and act as your third set of molars. They might be impacted (partially erupted), or perhaps they haven't erupted at all—although this might still happen (depending on your age when you receive your braces). These are the key factors that determine whether your wisdom teeth will be included in your orthodontic treatment.
With existing wisdom teeth, the length of your dental arch is taken into consideration. Since your teeth need to shift their position, does the presence of your wisdom teeth allow adequate room for this to happen? If not, extraction is likely to be needed prior to your orthodontic treatment. If there's enough space, your wisdom teeth may be left in place.
Impacted wisdom teeth follow the same general principle. If there's sufficient room for your teeth to be aligned, impacted wisdom teeth won't affect your treatment. Again, if it's suspected that there won't be enough space in your dental arch, your impacted wisdom teeth can be extracted. It's also possible for braces to be used to induce the further eruption of impacted wisdom teeth, gently coaxing them from their impacted state to take their place in the dental arch. But this option is only used when there's already enough space to accommodate the extra molars.
During and After Treatment
Not everyone will develop wisdom teeth. Those who do will find that these extra molars erupt from the ages of 17 to 25. This means that some patients may have to deal with the eruption of wisdom teeth during their orthodontic treatment. Extraction of wisdom teeth while wearing braces is possible, if the emerging teeth are likely to disrupt treatment. If wisdom teeth should develop after braces, their effect will be closely monitored. When these teeth threaten to misalign your teeth (which is certainly disappointing after all your hard work), then they will be removed.
Yes, wisdom teeth have the potential to create obstacles during your orthodontic treatment. The actual approach and outcome will vary, but your wisdom teeth shouldn't get in the way of your braces doing precisely what they're supposed to do.