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Fact or Fiction: Tooth Extractions Before Getting Braces

Dr. Mojaver

March 1, 2022

Fact or Fiction: Tooth Extractions Before Getting Braces

Is it true that sometimes it’s necessary to have a tooth extraction for orthodontic treatment? If you’ve heard of people getting teeth pulled for braces, there is some truth to it. Fortunately, removing teeth for braces and orthodontic therapy isn’t nearly as common as it used to be.

Why are Teeth Pulled for Braces?

In years past, removing teeth to “create room in your mouth” was a concept used throughout dental and orthodontic practices. Today, we have interceptive techniques and growth modification tactics that prevent the need to pull teeth.

Occasionally, we’ll still see a severely impacted tooth (such as a canine or eyetooth) that either needs to be brought down surgically or the adjacent tooth extracted to allow it to erupt properly.

Is tooth extraction necessary for braces? Rarely. Today the standard is to preserve natural teeth whenever possible. And since growth modification allows children and teens to enjoy healthier eruption patterns, removing teeth to get braces has become nearly extinct.

When to Have Teeth Pulled for Braces

There are, of course, exceptions. You may be someone who has an extremely narrow arch of teeth, or such severe crowding that it is physically impossible for all of them to fit neatly side-by-side.

This is where working with an orthodontic specialist is crucial. As experts in bite alignment and tooth placement, an orthodontist can help you rule out unnecessary oral surgery and dental extractions.

Removing teeth to make room for braces may have been normal 30 or 40 years ago, but that simply isn’t the case anymore.

Instead of extracting teeth, most impacted teeth are addressed early on, or palatal expansion is used to create the space those teeth need to erupt properly.

Even if your tooth isn’t fully erupted, clear aligners may still be an option. Using small “buttons” (tooth-colored attachments) we can create a small area on your tooth that the aligner can grip onto, encouraging it to move in the correct direction.

Disadvantages of Removing Healthy Teeth

Extracting a healthy tooth requires unnecessary oral surgery and time off work or school. Additionally, it creates changes in your bone anatomy and mouth shape, which require treatment to correct. By bringing the other teeth together, there may still be areas of concern in that location, which braces don’t correct.

Can I Get Braces if I Have Extracted Teeth?

Absolutely. If you already have missing teeth or teeth that have been extracted, you can still enjoy a healthy, straight smile.

Depending on which teeth are missing, you have two options. Aligners can help close in those spaces by bringing the teeth together, erasing visible signs of a missing tooth. Or you can pair your alignment with other dental treatments like dental implants or bridges-to close in the space while straightening the adjacent teeth.

Aligners are sometimes used to prep an opening to make sure there is enough space for an implant or bridge to be installed. The AlignBar team can partner with your personal dentist to create a care plan that puts your smile’s overall health goals ahead of everything else. It’s a win-win since you get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Getting Braces: Extraction Free!

At AlignBar in Downtown San Diego, we work with your natural tooth anatomy so that you don’t have to get teeth pulled for braces unless it’s 100% unavoidable. In most cases, all that’s needed is properly fitting clear aligners to guide your teeth into the desired position.

And since your clear aligners are digitally mapped, we can show you a virtual preview of your tooth movement without tooth extraction. Orthodontics and orthodontic therapy have come a long way!

Get a Professional Opinion

Were you ever told that you needed to have a tooth removed to get braces? You may want to get a second opinion. Especially if it’s been several years since you last discussed the issue with your dentist.

Reserve your evaluation at AlignBar today!

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