Are There Alternatives to Having Teeth Removed for Braces?

gif courtesy of Tooth extraction is a common solution for a tooth that can’t be saved. But, tooth extraction is also a widespread practice in the orthodontics field as well. Many times, when a patient requires braces, the orthodontist will weigh both the pros and cons for removing teeth for braces.

Like any other procedure, there are many choices and options that need to be discussed between the patient and the orthodontist in order to determine the best course of action to take. It’s crucial to understand why some teeth need to be removed and consider other alternatives that may work as well in order to achieve desirable results.

Why Orthodontists Remove Teeth

There are a number of reasons why people seek dental care. One common reason is to solve teeth crowding. Overcrowding can cause buckteeth (dental protrusion) or sometimes loss of bone or gum tissues and can lead to issues with chewing. If the patient’s jawbone underneath the teeth isn’t large enough, the orthodontist will simply apply pressure to the teeth in order to move them inward or outward over time. Basically, if the jaw bone is too small to accommodate the patient’s teeth, expanders may be necessary to gradually ‘grow’ the bone. Once a person reaches the age of 16, this procedure no longer works since the bone will solidify around this age.

Another key reason individuals choose to get braces is to modify the look of their lips. The way lips appear depends on the position of the teeth underneath them. Therefore, straightening the teeth can potentially improve a condition known as ‘lip posture’. If one of the jaws differs in size than the other, the mouth is unable to properly align and thus the teeth cannot effectively handle food. Also, misaligned teeth influence the length and overall shape of the face and may be a contributing factor to sleep apnea.

What Can I Eat While Wearing Braces




If the patient is considering getting braces and it’s been determined that tooth extraction is the best route to take, it’s often for one of these primary reasons:

  • Allow space for braces
  • Overcrowding
  • Lip position
  • Jaw position
  1. Spacing for Braces

Removing teeth will obviously create more space in the mouth, allowing the orthodontist to correctly position the teeth. Tooth extractions will also enable the orthodontist to correct key flaws using other methods that would otherwise not be readily accomplished due to all the teeth present.

  1. Overcrowding

If teeth are overcrowded, this can result in the protrusion of teeth, otherwise known as buckteeth. Extraction is frequently used together with braces to facilitate more room for the teeth to properly erupt from the gums. Orthodontists can use a palatal expander to create more space, however, this technique is only effective in children who are age 16 and under before they reach the point where their jawbone will harden too much to enable the teeth to be manipulated in this manner.

  1. Lip Position

Sometimes, tooth extraction is used to improve the appearance of the lips.

  1. Jaw position

The precise way a jaw is positioned will literally determine if the patient ends up with an under bite or overbite. In more severe cases, where the patient’s bite is dramatically off, surgery is might be necessary. Many times, tooth extraction is a plausible alternative to surgery.

Dental Surgery and Teeth Alignment

If a patient has a pronounced overbite, many times the easiest treatment may be to slide their top teeth back or shift the jaw forward. In some cases, it may require the need for surgery. Some people actually prefer tooth extraction compared to a dental operation.

Another possibility to make enough room for teeth is a process called tooth slimming, which involves grinding off the teeth on either side in order to make them somewhat thinner. This process will naturally occur over time anyway. Also, orthodontists sometimes utilize a temporary anchoring device (TAD) in order to give them enough leverage against the teeth that need to shift rather than actually extracting the teeth.

When it comes to any of these procedures, the bottom line is that some individuals are better candidates than others. Even if dental surgery is necessary, some patients may still require braces to straighten out their teeth.

Photo credit: kirainet / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

An Orthodontist Is a Specialist

The role of an orthodontist is to straighten teeth, align jaws, correct bites, and solve any other dental issues that may arise which can impact a patient’s eating, drinking, sleeping habits, or speaking. Some patients are discouraged just at the thought of tooth extraction. However, they have the right to choose or refuse any recommended treatment.

If a patient chooses not to pursue a specific treatment, other options may be available. However, these are often secondary in nature. The orthodontist will do their best to provide the ideal treatment plan for the patient on a physical and financial level.

If Invisalign isn’t an option, and surgery or traditional braces are necessary, the orthodontist will help inform and guide the patients concerning their overall dental care plan. However, if these issues continue to be put off to a later date, especially in the case of young children, the consequences later on can be dire.

Change Your Smile Today

Keep in mind that your choice to receive orthodontic treatment will not only make you want to smile more, but boost your overall self-confidence as well. Also, you’ll be able to experience better oral hygiene in addition to avoiding issues like TMJ disorders that stem from poorly misaligned teeth or a poor bite structure.

Nothing about your smile is going to change until you take the first step forward. Contact the Stafford orthodontic treatment specialists today to learn about what alternatives for braces Stafford provide. Enjoy the inviting and professional atmosphere as you are welcomed with a friendly smile by our polite and courteous staff in our office. Our team will strive to make every effort possible to make you comfortable while informing you about all your orthodontic options that we have available to you.

Beecroft Orthodontics - 10472 Georgetown Dr, Fredericksburg, VA22553 Phone: 540 898 2200

Are There Alternatives to Having Teeth Removed for Braces?

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