4 Burning Questions About Tooth Extractions and Orthodontics: Answered!
27 May 2022
Tooth extraction is a procedure that involves removing your tooth due to various reasons such as ectopic teeth (when the tooth erupts at an abnormal location and not along the dental arch) or teeth that are in a bad condition due to decay, and in the case of orthodontic treatments, this procedure is typically done to help achieve your dream smile.
We understand that tooth extraction can be a scary thought but when you have a clear understanding as to why the procedure is recommended, this will help you to make the best decision for your oral health.
To help you understand better, we tackle a couple of burning questions pertaining to tooth extractions and orthodontic treatments.
Let’s get started!
#1 Is tooth extraction necessary for all orthodontic treatments?
It is often assumed that orthodontic treatments require having your teeth extracted. You might breathe a sigh of relief to know that in actual fact, not all individuals who undergo orthodontic treatment require tooth extractions. It will not be suggested if your teeth can be realigned with the existing number of teeth in your mouth.
If need be, the procedure is usually recommended to help you have a better treatment outcome, that is to achieve straight teeth and a healthier bite. This may be the most effective solution to create the needed space to realign your teeth to their ideal position. Individuals who have severe overcrowding, a jaw that’s too small, teeth that are too big, or protruding teeth will most likely require tooth extraction.
Another option for mild to moderate cases is the Interproximal Reduction which involves reshaping your teeth’s enamel. This procedure may be helpful enough but there is a limit to the amount of enamel that can be removed to avoid damaging your teeth. Therefore, this procedure is not ideal for individuals with more severe malocclusion.
Do also note that not all tooth extractions happen at the beginning of your orthodontic treatment. Some are done along the way of your treatment.
#2 Does the type of orthodontic treatment influence the possibility of a tooth extraction?
It should be clarified that it does not matter if you’re opting for Invisalign or braces. Ultimately, it is not about the type of treatment that influences the need for tooth extraction. Instead, it merely depends on the type of malocclusion and your dental condition.
#3 Should my wisdom tooth be extracted even if it’s not bothering me?
It is not necessary to remove your wisdom tooth but if it is impacted, meaning the tooth is stuck below the surface of your gums or partially erupted through your gums, you will be advised to remove it even if it is not causing any pain.
This is encouraged to avoid complications in the future as it is more challenging to maintain your oral hygiene with an impacted wisdom tooth. If not extracted, an impacted wisdom tooth makes it easier for plaque to build up, causes cavities and infections as well as increases your risk of gum diseases. Plus, if extraction is delayed, it could require a more complicated surgical procedure.
Besides an impacted wisdom tooth, another consideration is – will your wisdom tooth affect the movement or alignment of your teeth?
In most instances, you’re encouraged to remove your impacted wisdom tooth prior to embarking on your orthodontic treatment journey. Reason being, impacted wisdom teeth can affect the teeth alignment process as wisdom teeth are typically the last to erupt (during one’s teenage years or adulthood) and tend to take up a lot of room in the mouth. Hence, risking teeth misalignment.
You might argue, “What if my wisdom tooth has fully erupted and is in the right position?”. If this is the case, you may delay the extraction until you’ve completed your orthondontic treatment.
Of course, as every orthodontic case is unique, be sure to consult your dentist to understand your options.
#4 Will fewer teeth have an impact?
You may worry if you’ll be able to chew well or if the procedure will affect the shape of your jaw due to lesser teeth.
Perhaps think of it this way, would one rather have a full set of teeth that risks damage and malocclusion issues or a fewer set of teeth but in a good position and functions well?
There is no doubt that a full set of 32 adult teeth is important but in some cases, a little sacrifice may reap benefits.
Your dentist will only recommend tooth extraction if it’s necessary and in most cases, it is to help with overcrowding. By extracting your tooth, it helps to create room for your teeth to realign to its ideal position.
Therefore, there is no need to worry about having an empty space in your mouth. As your teeth realign during your orthodontic treatment, it will fill up the space created and soon, you will not even miss your extracted tooth!
The ultimate burning question remains – to extract or not to extract? A detailed consultation with our dentist at i.Dental will give you better insights into your teeth. This can help you make a more informed decision prior to extracting them. Schedule a consultation and at the same time, learn about your orthodontic treatment options too!