My orthodontist wants to pull a couple of my teeth. He says it’s the only way he can make all my teeth straight and keep them that way. I disagree. I’ve never heard of this and I don’t understand why he would want to remove good teeth. Aren’t dentists supposed to be in the business of saving teeth, not pulling them? What should I do? Is this normal and something I have to go along with or is the guy a little off his rocker?
Yes, orthodontists commonly remove teeth as part of treatment. There are a number of reasons why they do, but a lot of time it comes down to not having enough space. If you have a narrow arch and a full set of teeth, there may not be enough room for them to be straightened out and fit properly. This likely is the cause of you having less than straight teeth to begin with. When an orthodontist catches cases like this early on, before the top of a child’s mouth is fused, a metal expander can be used to gradually widen the arch. At a certain age, usually around age 12 or so, the palate becomes hard and can’t adjust, so the only way to make room for everything is to remove some teeth.
There are other reasons why it might be necessary as well, such as to correct an overbite or to prevent the roots of the teeth from becoming exposed during treatment in some cases, but a lot of the time it simply comes down to making room.
Having straight teeth makes it much easier to keep them clean and to clean between them, which in turn helps prevent decay. So, although those teeth are healthy now, keeping them could indirectly affect the health of all your other teeth in the long run. When an orthodontist considers your treatment plan, he takes time to weigh the value of performing extractions. They’re not the easy way out, but they can help produce the results you need.
Should you go along with it? Only you can decide that. However, If you’re on the fence about it, find another orthodontist and have him provide an assessment. You don’t even need to mention your concerns about the extractions- just ask him what the best way to get the results you want is. If he suggests extractions, then you know it’s probably a solid choice. If he doesn’t, then you can see how he feels about it. Best of luck to you.
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