What do you say when your orthodontist wants to extract teeth on you or your child? Has it been recommended because the patient needs more dental space? Before you decide to extract, please read this blog!! It will help you make an informed decision and avoid potential issues that you or your child may encounter later on in life!
My Orthodontist Wants to Extract Teeth- Why?
It has been all too common in the past for orthodontists to recommend extracting permanent teeth. They usually suggest to remove the four bicuspid teeth on young children who have crowding or limited space. At Montclair Smile Design, we have been in practice for over thirty yeas and have seen firsthand the results of these extractions. These patients often end up with TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) and muscle pain symptoms as well as increased tooth wear. More recently the extraction of the four bicuspid teeth in youth orthodontic treatment has been closely linked as a cause of sleep apnea. This issue has become a significant medical problem in recent years.
Does My Orthodontist Have a Reason?
Your orthodontist wants to extract teeth for a reason: more space. However, the actual space needed when there is crowding is typically about 1/4 size of a tooth. However, since we cannot remove part of a tooth, the whole tooth is removed instead. And to maintain symmetry, four are removed. Now there is TOO much space with all four teeth gone so that extra space is closed by moving the teeth more. Unfortunately the entire dental arch becomes constricted as a result. With a smaller roof of your mouth, your tongue has less space to rest in. The tongue then has no choice but to fill the airway space which reduces the amount of oxygen taken in. Recall in our recent blog posting that blockage of the airway causes sleep apnea. Other signs of sleep apnea in children are snoring, tongue thrust, tongue tied and enlarged adenoids or tonsils. All of these should be evaluated.
The Possible Future Without Your Bicuspid Teeth
Many patients who had teeth extracted when they were young are now orthodontically reopening those spaces to broaden their roof/dental arch. They are then having dental implants placed. The more expanded the dental arch, the more room there is for the tongue and the less blockage of the airway.
At Montclair Smile Design we feel if there is crowding and limited space in the arches, the best way to create more space is through expanding and widening the dental arches. This is the opposite of extracting permanent teeth and constricting the arches. An expanded smile is a nicer looking smile as well. This is the path we prefer to take for our patients.
We highly recommend that if your orthodontist wants to extract teeth that you discuss this other option: expand instead of contract!
Any questions for us? Post a comment below and we would be happy to help!