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The primary goal of dental care is to preserve teeth. But there are circumstances in which removing a tooth, even a relatively healthy one, could prove best in the long run.

A malocclusion (poor bite) related to crowding might fit such a circumstance. Crowding occurs when the size of the jaw is too small for the teeth coming in. With not enough space, some teeth could erupt out of their proper positions. Removing certain teeth frees up space to eventually allow braces or other orthodontic devices to re-align the teeth.

The teeth most frequently removed are the first bicuspids, located between the cuspid (the "eyeteeth" directly under the eyes) and the back teeth, and the second premolar. Removing these won't normally affect appearance or functionality once orthodontic or cosmetic treatments are complete.

Because of the mechanics of jaw development it might be necessary to perform these extractions several years before orthodontic treatment. This could create another potential problem: the time lag could adversely affect bone health.

This is because bone, as living tissue, has a life cycle with cells forming, functioning and then dissolving, and new cells taking their place. When teeth are chewing or in contact with each other they generate force that travels through the tooth roots to the bone and stimulates cell growth at a healthy replacement rate.

But when a tooth is missing, so is this stimulation. This slows the replacement rate and eventually leads to decreased bone volume. Too much bone loss could create obstacles for orthodontic treatment or a future dental implant.

To avoid this, the dentist will often place a bone graft with processed bone mineral within the empty tooth socket right after extraction. The graft serves as a scaffold for bone cells to grow upon. The graft (plus any other added growth boosters) can help maintain a healthy level of bone volume to facilitate future orthodontic or restorative treatments.

Since targeted extraction for orthodontics is time-sensitive, you should have your child's bite evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7 to see if any action is necessary. The earlier a malocclusion is detected, the more likely a more attractive and healthy smile will be the ultimate outcome.

If you would like more information on correcting poor bites, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”

By Art of Dentistry Danville
April 30, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth extraction  

Removing a tooth may be the best way to protect your smile in some cases. Danville, VA, dentists Dr. Jessica Owens and Dr. Zachary tooth extractionHairston of the Art of Dentistry explain why tooth extractions are the best option sometimes.

You don't have enough room for your wisdom teeth

The human jaw has gotten progressively smaller over the centuries. As a result, many people no longer have enough room for their third set of molars, known as wisdom teeth. Although it's certainly nice to have a third set of molars, they're not absolutely necessary. When the teeth become partially or fully impacted, extraction is recommended. Fully impacted teeth remain trapped beneath bone and gums, while part of a partially impacted tooth is visible above the gum line. Extracting wisdom teeth ends your pain and helps you avoid nerve damage, shifting teeth and other problems that can occur when the teeth push against your bones, gums, nerves and other teeth.

You have extensive tooth decay

Although fillings, inlays and onlays, and crowns can restore teeth damaged by decay, sometimes the decay is so extensive that the tooth can't be saved. After the tooth is removed in our Danville office, you can restore it with a bridge or dental implant.

Your orthodontist recommends extractions

Your orthodontist may ask us to remove a few teeth if you will be getting braces. If your mouth is small, removing a few teeth may make orthodontic treatment more successful. Once the extra teeth are extracted, it will be easier to realign your teeth and correct bite problems.

Your tooth is damaged

Teeth can be damaged due to falls and accidents. In some cases, damaged teeth can be saved with root canal therapy. Unfortunately, extraction may be the only option if the damage is severe.

You have a dental abscess

Dental abscesses occur when a bacterial infection develops in your pulp, the soft mass of tissue, blood vessels and nerves in the center of your tooth. Antibiotic treatment and root canal therapy are often effective in treating abscesses. Unfortunately, if the infection lingers, it may be necessary to extract the tooth to protect your health.

Whether you need a tooth extraction, a checkup or a filling, the dentists at Art of Dentistry can help you care for your smile. Call Drs. Jessica Owens and Zachary Hairston at (434) 792-0700 to schedule your appointment.