Tooth Extractions and Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic treatment not only enhances the appearance of your smile, but it also improves oral health and function. Because every individual is unique, each treatment plan is tailored to the specific needs of the patient. While we recommend preserving natural teeth whenever possible, tooth removal is sometimes necessary in conjunction with braces to align the patient’s teeth.
At Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics, serving Philadelphia, PA, Bala Cynwyd, PA, Bensalem, PA, and surrounding areas, our team explores the topic of tooth extractions and orthodontic treatment. We will also discuss when tooth removal is recommended and explore the benefits that this procedure can offer.
When Are Extractions Necessary?
There are a few different reasons why tooth extractions may be recommended during orthodontic treatment. Permanent teeth may need to be removed in order to:
- Promote proper jaw growth: In order for the jaw to properly accommodate the teeth, there should be no excessive pressure pushing things out of place. Tooth removal can help maintain balance among the orofacial elements.
- Reduce overcrowding: Sometimes the jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth. When patients have excessive overlapping or crowding, our team may recommend extractions.
- Eliminate supernumerary teeth: Some individuals are actually born with more than 32 permanent teeth. Supernumerary teeth may be small, large, misshapen, or even impacted in the jawbone. Removing these extra teeth brings balance to the bite.
- Address protrusion: When the front teeth protrude outward, it can have a negative impact on speech and chewing function. Removing teeth toward the back of the mouth allows your orthodontist to gently move the front teeth back into a more appropriate position.
- Eliminate impacted teeth: Many individuals are familiar with impacted wisdom teeth, which are routinely removed to prevent other oral health problems. Impacted teeth can also occur in other areas. In some cases, your orthodontist may be able to move the impacted tooth into alignment. However, sometimes extraction is recommended for best results.
- Reduce or eliminate diseased or decayed teeth: Candidates for orthodontic treatment should not have serious oral health issues such as extensive decay or gum disease. Therefore, teeth that are badly decayed or damaged must be removed prior to braces.
How Many Teeth Will Need to be Removed?
Keep in mind that every patient is different, so the answer to this question can vary. However, it is common for individuals to require anywhere from one to four extractions (excluding wisdom teeth) in preparation for braces. Your orthodontist uses a conservative approach in order to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
Are There Alternatives to Extraction?
There are a couple of alternatives to extractions for orthodontic treatment. In young patients, the arches can be expanded if the orofacial bones are still developing. This can be accomplished by using palatal expanders and other orthodontic appliances.
However, adult patients cannot expand the arches. In some instances, the teeth can be spread out within the existing bone dimensions. However, this approach is only recommended in certain instances, as it can lead to bone and tissue loss over time. During a consultation at Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics, we can discuss your treatment options with you in detail.
Contact Us to Learn More
Have you been told you need tooth extractions before pursuing braces? Schedule an appointment at our office for a second opinion. Our team can determine if tooth removal is a necessary aspect of your care. To learn more, contact us online or call us at (215) 883-0611.