When patients visit orthodontists for their first braces consultation, one of the most common questions asked are, “Why do I need teeth removed for my braces?” or “Why do you have to pull my child’s teeth?” While tooth extraction can seem like a scary topic, it is often necessary for braces to work properly.
Everyone has two sets of teeth: primary or baby teeth and adult or permanent teeth. Primary teeth normally begin falling out when a child is five to six years old. These teeth will continue to fall out for the next several years in a fairly predictable order. Sometimes, when teeth fall out too early or too late, it can cause alignment problems. At the initial consultation, the orthodontist will examine your child’s mouth to determine which teeth are in their mouth. If their teeth have fallen out too early, spacers can help maintain the space between the teeth while waiting for the permanent tooth to grow into place. On the other hand, teeth that won’t fall out can indicate that an orthodontic problem may already exist or will occur in the future.
During this initial consultation, orthodontists often tell their patients that tooth extraction will be necessary before getting braces. While patients normally understand why a primary tooth needs to be removed, they are often concerned at the thought of extracting a permanent tooth, especially in a child. There are many reasons that this may need to occur in order to get the smile that you want.
The space in our jaws must accommodate 32 teeth. Often, when teeth grow in, there is simply not enough room for all of them. This may be due to teeth growing in early before the jaws have sufficiently grown, or it may be due to the normal size of the patient’s mouth. When the teeth grow in without sufficient space, it can cause the teeth to become misaligned, grow in crooked or a tooth to become impacted.
When a child is less than 15 years of age, a palatal expander can be utilized to prevent overcrowding from occurring. Often, however, tooth extraction is the best means to relieve overcrowding. When teeth are removed, the remaining teeth in the mouth can move into their proper positions with the use of braces.
Size and Shape of Teeth
Occasionally, patients have teeth that are abnormally large in size. They may also have roots that are curved or may be hypoplastic, where the teeth have less enamel than they should. Because these abnormal sizes and shapes can cause issues when trying to align the teeth, orthodontists often recommend tooth extraction in order for the jaw to better accommodate the teeth. Removing these teeth for braces can result in more space in the mouth and proper alignment to occur.
Protrusion occurs when the upper teeth in the mouth extend too far forward or the lower teeth don’t extend far enough. This can cause the upper teeth to be more susceptible to injuries and can result in a poor bite in the back of the mouth. Normally, protrusion occurs because of hereditary factors, such as jaw alignment. However, a protrusion can also occur due to thumb and finger sucking.
Overbite, Underbite or Crossbite
Ideally, when the teeth are pressed together, the upper teeth should overlap the lower teeth by three to five millimeters. When this bite is off, the result is an overbite, underbite or crossbite.
An overbite occurs when the upper teeth overlap by more than five millimeters. This condition is very common and accounts for 70 percent of dental disorders in children. This condition is most often caused by genetics but can be worse due to extended pacifier use, tongue thrusting and thumb sucking. Because children have softer jaws, these habits can result in bite issues. An overbite can make chewing food difficult and can result in headaches and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain as your child grows.
Underbites are the opposite of overbites and can result in the lower teeth sitting in front of the upper teeth when the mouth is closed. Much like an overbite, underbites can be caused by genetics or habits, such as extended pacifier use in children. Children who learn to breathe through their mouths because of allergies or adenoids may also develop an underbite. It can result in headaches and jaw pain as your child grows older.
Crossbites occur when the teeth tilt either outward toward the cheek or inward toward the tongue. It causes excessive stress on the jawbone
and can result in pain while chewing. Crossbites are due to hereditary factors but can worsen due to careless chewing.
Removing the teeth for braces can correct an overbite, underbite or crossbite and may eliminate the need for surgery. In extreme cases, jaw surgery may be necessary to correct a bite disorder. Many times, however, removing teeth can result in the teeth moving to their proper alignment and correct bite.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Once Beecroft Orthodontics examines your child’s mouth, we will come up with a treatment plan to correct any oral issue that they are experiencing. As a highly qualified and professional Stafford orthodontist, I have helped many children to have happier smiles as a result of straightened teeth and corrected bites. Schedule your appointment by calling us today so we can get to work on helping your child feel confident and proud of their smile.