Tooth Extractions Before Getting Braces From Your Orthodontist
If you and your dentist are talking about braces, you may be surprised that you will likely consider tooth extractions first. A common first step before getting braces is having one or more teeth extracted. Both children and adults may need to have tooth extractions if space is an issue in the mouth. In children, the palate is still growing and developing, which means that space can be created by either expanding the palate or by the extraction of one or more teeth. For adults, the palate is already fixed into position, so tooth extractions or jaw surgery are the only ways to make additional room in the mouth.
Why might I need a tooth extracted?
There must be enough room for your teeth to shift into the correct position, which is why crowding is the main reason for most tooth extractions prior to braces. However, there are several other reasons you may need to get tooth extractions before you are able to get your braces. These can include:
- Bite alignment
- Extra teeth
- Impacted teeth, or teeth that are unable to break through the gums
- Protrusions, or teeth being pushed out farther than normal
As discussed before, crowding is one of the main reasons for tooth extractions prior to braces. Dentists and orthodontists refer to teeth that take up too much room as crowding, and it can cause quite a few problems in your mouth. What are some of the issues that can come from teeth taking up too much space?
Abnormal tooth wear
When you have crowding, your teeth usually do not line up properly on the top and bottom, so areas of your teeth are touching where they should not be. This leads to an abnormal or premature wearing down of the enamel and can even lead to cracked or broken teeth.
Chewing or speech difficulties
Crowding can also cause difficulties with both chewing and speech. When your teeth are not aligned properly, you can have difficulties forming certain sounds, such as “ch” or “s.” Additionally, chewing properly can be extremely difficult if your teeth do not align or make contact.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums that can lead to an infection. Crowding can lead to gum disease because when teeth are crowded together or overlapping, it is difficult to keep them clean. It creates areas that may not be reachable with a toothbrush or floss.
The bottom line
Whether you or your child need tooth extractions prior to braces, your best bet is to visit an orthodontist as soon as your child starts to lose their baby teeth. This allows the orthodontist to evaluate the mouth, jaw and teeth and begin planning for any treatment. The same goes for adults: Visit an orthodontist as soon as you begin considering braces for a full evaluation. With a little planning and treatment, you can have a straight, healthy and beautiful smile!
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