It may come as a surprise if your orthodontist recommends the removal of adult teeth. Given all the advancements in the field of orthodontics, why remove seemingly healthy teeth? Here’s why:
We Need the Room
Imagine trying to fit four cars into a two-car garage – not pretty, right? The same is true for our mouths. Sometimes, we can expand the dental arches within the boney housing that holds the teeth, but there are limits to this.
Given a modest amount of teeth-crowding, we can often provide a beautiful smile and healthy bite by reshaping and bringing some teeth forward. Moving teeth forward to provide space must be done with the facial profile and lip structure in mind.
For example, someone with thin lips and protruding teeth won’t look better if the teeth come further forward. They will also find it difficult to breathe through their nose. Careful consideration must be taken when bringing teeth forward. It must be done within the bones that hold the teeth or it may cause bone and gum loss.
Another option to create more space for crowded teeth is to push the back teeth even further back. But there are limitations to this method.
Even with these options, some people still simply require more space to properly align their teeth. For them, having teeth extracted for orthodontic purposes provides a better chance of perfecting their bite and smile. Extracting teeth to provide space for severely crowded teeth remains an ideal solution for certain individuals.
To Improve the Lip Profile
Some individuals possess forward-positioning teeth that create an unusual profile and a space between the top and bottom teeth. If the difference between the top and bottom teeth is modest, this can often be overcome with orthodontic rubber bands.
When the difference between the upper and lower teeth is more substantial, teeth extractions are recommended. When teeth are extracted, the space created is used to move the remaining teeth into a straight line and reduce the space between the upper and lower teeth. This allows the front upper and lower teeth to touch correctly.
If a patient presents with crowding and the teeth are already protruding, bringing the teeth further forward will only increase the problem. In some rare and severe instances, jaw surgery may be recommended in combination with orthodontic treatment.
To Improve the Bite
In the case of an altered bite due to some combination of jawbone asymmetry, the bite may be improved by recommending select removal of teeth.
If an adolescent is missing adult teeth, we can plan to close those spaces and avoid costly future implant replacements. In adult patients missing teeth due to a history of cavities and extractions, it may be possible to close those dental spaces completely with orthodontics.
Removing healthy teeth is only recommended with the patient’s best interest in mind. The important thing to remember is that in the end, you will have a beautiful, healthy, new smile.