Why Does My Orthodontist Want to Remove a Healthy Tooth?

When patients visit my Olathe and Overland Park orthodontic offices, they’re often under the misconception that healthy teeth should never be removed to prepare for orthodontic treatment. Unfortunately, that’s not always something we can avoid. While I do everything I can to stick with non-extraction treatment plans, in certain cases, removing permanent teeth is necessary to help patients achieve the healthiest, most esthetic, and most stable results.

We know that can be a little scary but at Moon Orthodontics we always conduct a thorough examination prior to kicking off treatment and only extract teeth as a last resort or as an alternative to surgery. There are several issues that could result in the need for tooth extraction before braces or Invisalign.

Why Does My Orthodontist Want to Remove a Healthy Tooth?

Severe Crowding

If your jaw isn’t big enough to fit all of your teeth properly, or the teeth are just too big for the jaws, severe crowding can occur. In some instances, teeth (most commonly the wisdom teeth) can become impacted because there is no room for them to erupt. In mild cases of crowding, braces or Invisalign alone can correct the problem. When crowding is more severe, extracting teeth might be the only way to ensure there is enough space for all of your teeth to shift into their correct, aligned positions.

Protruding Teeth

Often caused by crowding, protruding front teeth can be more than a cosmetic issue. When teeth stick out too far, they’re prone to damage from injuries. If there isn’t room for the teeth to be moved into their ideal position, extracting permanent teeth can create the space needed not only to align them, but to also retract them into the healthier and more esthetic position you’re looking for.

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Overbite (a.k.a. Excess Overjet)

An overbite is when the upper front teeth extend too far past the lower front teeth. Sometimes the lower front teeth will even bite into the roof of the mouth. Since the cause of an overbite is commonly caused by jaw growth issues, we recommend getting evaluated by age seven to identify these problems early enough so that they can be addressed without extractions or surgery.  If these issues haven’t been addressed early enough, though, and when it’s severe, tooth extraction can be analternative to jaw surgery. It will create space to move the remaining teeth and align them into a healthy bite.

Why Does My Orthodontist Want to Remove a Healthy Tooth?Dentofacial Asymmetries

When you look really closely at people’s faces you might notice that it’s extremely rare for the right and left side to be completely symmetrical. It’s normal for their to be slight differences. When dentofacial asymmetry is significant it can be a problem functionally and cosmetically. If it’s dental or functional, sometimes tooth extraction combined with braces or Invisalign can create balance in the face. If the asymmetry is skeletal in nature, surgery might be recommended.

Preventing Tooth Extractions

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, following the American Association of Orthodontists recommendation and scheduling your child’s first appointment with an orthodontist by age seven can be so beneficial. If we notice red flags while a kid still has primary teeth and their jaw is growing, we can intervene and prevent tooth extractions down the road. Certain appliances can ensure the permanent teeth have enough room to come in and make treatment much easier.

While seeing an orthodontist at a young age can prevent the need for extractions, it’s never too late for orthodontic treatment and even adults can benefit from straightening their teeth. We don’t take removing teeth for braces or Invisalign lightly and only do so in severe cases when alternative approaches won’t work. Schedule your complimentary consultation with Moon Orthodontics today at our Overland Park or Olathe orthodontic offices and we’ll evaluate your case and help you decide on the best treatment option for your individual needs.