Teeth that are overcrowded can lead to a number of dental concerns, including plaque build up, a misaligned bite, distorted speech, and even discomfort while chewing. No one wants to have a tooth extracted, but in some cases, removing a tooth may actually be the best solution to a crowded bite restoring and the health and function of your smile.
Diagnosing a Bad Bite
When a patient is diagnosed with malocclusion, also known as a “bad bite,” it is typically because their upper and lower teeth improperly fit when they bite or chew. They may have crowded teeth that affect their appearance, speech or ability to eat. There are many causes for a malocclusion, ranging from genetics to thumb sucking and premature tooth loss.
Jaw Size and Teeth Crowding
A smaller sized jaw not only prohibits new teeth from settling into their correct positions but also encourages existing teeth to become misaligned. In these cases, dentists will often recommend for one or more teeth to be surgically removed. Oral surgery in combination with orthodontic measures such as braces or retainers can assist with proper realignment.
Tooth Extraction for Pediatric Patients
Early diagnosis in children is key to projecting proper tooth alignment. Children who are identified with a malocclusion before the age of eight have a much better chance of achieving an attractive and healthy bite. When a child is identified as a good candidate for braces, the dentist will identify when it might be necessary to remove healthy teeth that may be in the way. This extraction may have to take place a year or two before the braces can be put on. Once the teeth have been moved into their new position, the braces are removed and a retainer is worn until the teeth stabilize in that position.
If a crowded bite is creating malocclusion or a “bad bite”, your dentist may consider the removal of one or more teeth in order to give your other teeth the space they need to align correctly. The only way to find out if tooth extraction will be part of your orthodontic treatment plan is to have a consultation with your orthodontic specialist. Your orthodontist will work with you to tailor a treatment plan that will be custom fit to meet your needs.