A big fear that some patients have to orthodontic treatment is the fear of having some adult teeth removed. Often times, these are perfectly healthy teeth that have nothing wrong with them with the exception of the fact that they are in the way of other teeth lining up properly. So you might ask why an orthodontist would possibly want to remove teeth when they can simply line everything up with braces and get all of the teeth to fit in your mouth. Well, there are a few reasons why orthodontists decide to remove teeth. A few of those reasons include: crowding, “buck teeth” or protruded teeth, overbite - how far your top teeth stick out in front of your bottom teeth, and teeth that are not symmetrical with each other. The biggest reason why an orthodontist would remove teeth is the fact that there may not be enough room in your mouth to fit everything in. This is a situation that orthodontists call severe crowding. Often times, the teeth are either too big or the jaws are too small to allow all the teeth the fit together in a nice line. Without the removal of teeth in a severe crowding case, the person may not be able to chew properly or close their lips together properly at the end of orthodontic treatment.
Specific examples of why to have adult teeth removed include: making room so that lining up the teeth won’t push them out of the bone or cause the gums to shrink away from the teeth, creating space to allow front teeth to move back so the lips can close, and allowing the top front teeth to move back so an overbite problem can be fixed. Some patients may feel that it is detrimental to remove perfectly healthy teeth, however, as you can see, there are positive effects that can be gained when you remove certain teeth.
Based on my practice and my techniques, it is usually my goal to complete orthodontic treatment without the removal of adult teeth. However, if I cannot give a patient the best smile possible with the best overall function without removing teeth, then that is the recommendation I’m going to make. If I do make a recommendation to have adult teeth removed, please don’t think of me as some tooth slayer. I will ALWAYS make the best recommendation for my patients based on their current dental health, their overall health, and my goal to give all my patients the best smile possible.
Please be sure that you visit an orthodontist specialist for all of your orthodontic needs. Orthodontic specialists have had extensive training to carefully diagnose and treatment plan your individual case.