People get braces for a lot of different reasons: gaps, a few teeth that aren’t aligned properly, and crowding. In the cases of crowded teeth it can often seem necessary to extract several premolars to make room for the rest of the teeth to align properly – no one wants to face that in order to straighten their smile!
At Orthodontic Alliances we don’t like extracting teeth, especially when it isn’t necessary. Even when your mouth appears overcrowded it doesn’t mean teeth need to be removed. In fact, we can usually avoid extraction in all but the most extreme cases. The result? A better smile that looks even better.
Why Extraction Isn’t Always A Good Idea
Think of a stone archway: every single brick in it is there to support the whole arch. If you were to remove a couple of those stones in order to adjust the arch you may not lose the entire arch, but moving just two stones means repositioning almost every single other one in order to accommodate the change.
It’s much the same with your teeth – each one of them plays a very specific role in maintaining the shape of your mouth, and if we extract a couple teeth we end up having to move every single one in order to construct a normal looking smile.
Aside from that, tooth extraction is traumatic for patients, especially young ones, which makes the orthodontic treatment process that much more frightening and anxiety-inducing. We don’t want our patients dreading their braces – we just want them to be excited about their new smile!
Orthodontics: All About Change
Treating a crowded mouth used to involve tooth extraction in almost every case. The orthodontic world simply assumed that removing the crowding teeth was the easiest way to go about treatment, but we now know that isn’t the case.
If we remove two premolars we might have room to bring those crowded teeth into alignment, but the gap created by the missing tooth is often times greater in size than the amount of correction needed. Now we’re in a position where more teeth need to move further.
Moving teeth with traditional orthodontics isn’t all about repositioning the crowns of your teeth – we move everything from root to tip. The greater the movement the more time it takes, and the harder it is for your body to heal from the repositioning – there’s a lot of bone structure that changes when teeth move!
The further we have to move your teeth, the greater the risk of overcorrection. In the short term this might not mean much, but as you age you could experience loosening teeth because the bone structure that supports them isn’t ever able to fully recover. Why would we put our patients through that when we don’t have to?
Leaving Teeth In Place = A Better Smile
In many cases of unnecessary orthodontic extraction the entire smile profile ends up different. For many patients this means teeth that don’t point naturally down in their mouths, and that’s not what orthodontic care should result in!
Non-extraction orthodontics aims for less tooth movement, resulting in a healthier, more properly aligned smile that’s not going to look unnatural. Our aim is always to create the perfect smile that will also last for life, and we won’t do anything to jeopardize that outcome!
When Do Teeth Need To Be Extracted?
In some rare cases extraction is still necessary. We make this choice on a patient-to-patient basis, and we’ll never recommend extraction when it isn’t the best course of action. Extraction isn’t always just performed for crowding reasons – sometimes extracting teeth can lead to a better looking smile at the end of treatment – it’s all about your facial structure and your desired results.
A common example of necessary extraction would be an adult patient with extremely crowded teeth. In a younger patient we might try widening the jaw before starting orthodontic treatment, but since adult bone is set more firmly the procedure can be painful and very long term.
Even younger patients with extreme crowding may need extraction, but we’ll always aim to find a way to avoid it when necessary.
Faster, More Efficient, And Less Painful Braces
If you want to find out why non-extraction orthodontics is such a good idea we encourage you to reach out to our team at any of our three northern Indiana locations. We’d love to show you what we can do for your smile in less time and with far less pain!