Are extractions necessary in order to get braces?

Having braces placed on your teeth is a complex process. It involves evaluating your teeth, the way your bite should be, and what approaches will be best to move your teeth into proper position. In some cases, you might need to have a tooth or two extracted, particularly if your wisdom teeth have emerged.

Tooth Extractions and Orthodontic Treatment

In the past, it was fairly common to remove one or two teeth from a crowded mouth before beginning orthodontic treatment. Now, many orthodontists prefer to use other methods to make additional room in the mouth, such as palate expanders or guided eruption. In some cases, though, extraction is still necessary. This is particularly true if you have your wisdom teeth. Most people don’t have sufficient room for this last set of molars, anyway, so if you need extra room in a crowded arch of teeth, these will be the first to go.

If your orthodontist believes you need additional room, he might remove additional teeth. When necessary, teeth are generally removed in pairs and in such a way that the look of your smile isn’t disrupted. Other than wisdom teeth, extraction of molars tends to be avoided. Depending upon the tooth that needs to be removed, you might have the extraction in your dentist’s office. Wisdom teeth often require oral surgery for removal because of their tendency to become impacted.

Alternatives to Tooth Extraction

Many orthodontists will avoid tooth removal whenever possible using alternative methods. These include palate widening. This technique uses a special appliance attached to the root of the mouth. The appliance is widened a small amount at a time using a key. Gradually, the two bones of the palate move apart. This is effective in younger patients, before the roof of the mouth fuses. Temporary anchorage devices can be used to move specific teeth before the main phase of orthodontic treatment begins. Finally, surgery can create room in the mouth or be used to move the jaw into place. In some cases, though, extraction is the easiest, quickest, and most effective alternative.

Are you or a family member needing oral surgery to prepare for orthodontic treatment? Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with our caring team.


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