If your teeth are crowded, your dentist or orthodontist may have suggested removing certain teeth before getting braces.
It makes sense, right? If teeth are removed – specifically the premolars in the back – then there is more space to relieve the crowding of your other teeth.
Dental professionals relied on this way of thinking for years, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best course of action for everybody. While it may make orthodontic treatment easier, there are negative side effects to consider.
Many of the negative outcomes are poorly explained by the dentist or orthodontist or they’re not understood by the patient. It is important that you consider all of the side effects before making the decision.
So, why shouldn’t you get teeth removed to make space when you get braces?
It can damage your other teeth
Your dentist or orthodontist will usually suggest removing your premolars (the back teeth located between your molars and canine teeth). But these teeth are there for a reason: they chew smaller bits of food that have already been pre-chewed by the molars. If you remove these, your canine teeth will be used instead, and they will quickly show signs of wear.
Having your premolars removed changes your profile, especially as you age
Removing your teeth and then pulling the others backwards can give you the appearance of a flat face, flat cheekbones, thinner lips, and a retruded chin. Male patients will most likely end up growing facial hair in adulthood that will make their face look fuller and more proportionate. Women drew the short stick and are at risk of appearing older.
Pulling your teeth back creates a smaller “container” for your tongue
When you retract your teeth, your tongue is forced backward and can block your throat, forcing you to become a mouth breather. When this happens, your tongue sits on top of your bottom teeth, allowing them to become crowded again, even years after getting your braces removed.
Your first instinct might be to blame your orthodontist or the retainer wire, but it’s actually because your tongue is not able to do its job.
Retracting your the teeth increases the chances of snoring
There are few things as frustrating as trying to sleep next to someone who snores. The snoring happens when the tongue falls back into the throat, restricting air flow.
Snoring isn’t just annoying. It can also contribute to sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Most people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed. They blame their decline in health on age or hereditary illnesses or conditions. While those things are factors, poor oxygen exchange, a restricted airway, and lack of good sleep have slow, long-term effects on their overall health.
If your dentist or orthodontist says that you should have teeth removed to make space, get a second opinion. They aren’t suggesting it to be malicious, but they are recommending the best treatment that they know. When deciding on a course of action, make sure you make your choice based on where you can get the treatment and care that works for you. Picking your orthodontist or dentist based on how close it is to school or work isn’t always the best solution.
Many orthodontists have started treating younger patients in order to help them improve the way their jaw grows so that there is room for the teeth. In some cases, growing your jaw properly is the difference between years of braces and orthodontist appointments and a mouth free of overcrowding.
If you want a dentist who will give you all of your options to ensure that you have the healthiest mouth possible, reach out to Dr. Andrea Stevens.