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Will I need to have teeth removed for my braces?

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You may have heard of some people needing to have teeth extracted as part of their orthodontic treatment. Maybe you needed it as a child and wonder if your child will need the same. Why do orthodontists recommend having teeth extracted for some patients and not for others? Couldn’t it be done without extracting teeth? 

When you first visit the orthodontist office your orthodontist will review your teeth and how they line up in your jaws. There are many factors that go into a proper diagnosis. Some of these factors include: 

  • the size and shape of the teeth, 
  • the size and shape of the jaws, 
  • the orientation of the teeth and jaws, 
  • how the teeth are positioned relative to the face, 
  • the proclination of the teeth, 
  • the health of the gums, 
  • and many other factors. 

An orthodontist goes to additional years of schooling beyond dental school to gain experience in proper diagnosis, treatment methods, and treatment management. That additional training is critical to giving you the best outcome. A vast majority of patients do not need extractions; however, sometimes extracting teeth will lead to the best outcome. 

We all have two sets of teeth, baby teeth and permanent teeth. There are times when having baby teeth removed can aid in the proper eruption of the permanent teeth and prevent certain orthodontic problems from arising (which is one reason to have your child seen by the orthodontist starting at age 7.) Most people don’t have a problem having baby teeth removed. But why would permanent teeth ever need to be removed for orthodontic treatment?

Your orthodontist will want to avoid extracting permanent teeth at all costs; however, sometimes extracting permanent teeth will actually lead to a more ideal and better looking result. Here are the main reasons extractions are recommended during orthodontic treatment:

  • There is severe crowding (there is not enough room in the jaws for all of the teeth to fit properly).
  • The top front teeth stick out too far and don’t allow you to close your lips properly.
  • Extractions could be a possible alternative to correcting a severe overbite or underbite that would otherwise require surgery of the jaw to correct.
  • The teeth are asymmetrically positioned in the jaw. 
  • There are other missing teeth or extra teeth that prevent the top and bottom teeth from fitting together properly.
  • A combination of any of the problems listed above.

There are times when extractions are absolutely necessary for a good outcome. There are also times when a treatment could go either way but may have some drawbacks to not removing any teeth. At our office we want you to be as informed as possible during your treatment. We only recommend extractions when absolutely necessary, and only proceed with the plan if and when you are comfortable and understand the plan. We will discuss all options and answer any questions you may have regarding the options for your treatment.

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