One question parents often ask when their children begin their journey to a spectacular smile is whether it will be necessary to extract teeth. Our goal is to minimize the need to extract teeth, but it is worthwhile to understand the role of extraction in orthodontic treatment.
Dr. Gellerman, the orthodontist, is trained to look at the patient’s entire face and head, including the jaw, cheeks and chin. How do all of the parts of the face fit together? Are the proportions correct, both in terms of function and appearance? Just as every person is different, every person’s teeth, jaws and facial structures are unique. A careful examination by a skilled orthodontist like Dr. Gellerman will evaluate issues including crowding, tongue placement and the position of other facial structures.
Today, orthodontists are able to minimize teeth extraction because of the improvements to orthodontic technology.
For children under the age of 13, palate expansion, sometimes referred to as Rapid Palatal Expansion, is used to gain more space on the upper jaw and avoid having to extract teeth. The appliance gently widens the roof of the mouth, and treatment can take a few weeks or months.
The most common reason for extraction is known as “crowding.” Each person’s jaw has only so much space, and when there’s not enough room, teeth respond by moving out of alignment, overlapping or sticking out at awkward angles. Think of this like putting too much furniture into a small room: you can push furniture in, but no matter how strong the movers are, you won’t be able to open drawers if they are up against the bed! By removing teeth on a crowded jaw, the patient’s teeth have sufficient space to line up to create a straight and smooth surface.
If you have questions about whether or not your child’s teeth need to be extracted before orthodontic treatment can begin, call our office at 631-427-8444.