Many parents are very surprised when their child’s orthodontist says that they need to have a tooth extracted before treatment can begin. The common question is simply, “Why?” Most people assume that braces are just placed onto the teeth as is, but this isn’t the case for many patients. If you have a child in need of braces, will an extraction be necessary beforehand? What will this accomplish? Will this make the treatment last significantly longer? These are all great questions, and as you read on, you’ll find the answers to them and many more.
How Tooth Extractions Help Braces
An orthodontic treatment like braces is primarily used to move the teeth into a more attractive and functional orientation…that part is pretty understandable. But, what most people don’t think about is that the teeth actually need room to move. If the teeth are extremely crowded, they won’t be able to shift because there simply isn’t enough space in the gum line for this to happen. An extraction can help create this much needed room within the mouth so the teeth are able to respond to the force applied by braces.
An extraction may also be necessary if a tooth is extremely damaged or decayed. Removing a problem tooth before treatment begins can save a lot of headaches down the line because the braces won’t have to be put on and then taken off when the tooth inevitably fails.
What Happens When a Tooth is Extracted for Braces
If a child requires a simple extraction (which is performed on a tooth that has fully emerged from the gum line), then the orthodontist will refer the patient to an oral surgeon or back to their general dentist.
Once the tooth has been extracted and a child’s mouth has been given adequate time to heal, they’ll then return to their orthodontist for another quick exam, and if everything looks good, their braces will be put on. Even though an extraction might seem to lengthen a child’s treatment, it actually helps shorten the time spent in braces overall because the appliance is able to work without resistance. This approach can also ensure that a child is more comfortable throughout the process.
Will Your Child Need an Extraction?
The only way to determine this is to visit an experienced orthodontist for a consultation. They’ll be able to let you know right away if your child needs an extraction or not, and if necessary, they’ll help you organize the procedure at that same visit so your child can start braces as quickly as possible.
This initial step is necessary for countless children, and for many, it’s just the beginning of them getting a more beautiful and healthy smile.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is an award-winning orthodontist with experience serving patients of all ages throughout the Columbus area. If you have a child who could benefit from braces, he can let you know if they’ll need an extraction and answer any other questions you might have at a FREE consultation. To schedule this appointment and start your child on the road to a better smile, contact us today.