Overcrowding of teeth is often the underlying reason for the recommendation of orthodontics. However it is important to take a comprehensive approach to address overcrowding and avoid the need for tooth extraction. Dr. Ami Barakat uses the principles of physiologic dentistry to evaluate the structure of your bite and makes every effort to avoid extracting teeth for the benefit of your long term oral health and wellness.
Tooth extraction has become a common part of an orthodontic treatment plan when “too many teeth” are considered the underlying dental problem. It is often the fastest and easiest way to achieve the desired aesthetics but can create new problems down the road. Although many patients may appear to have too many teeth or teeth that do not align because of a small palate, there are important reasons for keeping all of your natural teeth and alternative treatment options for crowded teeth.
The Benefits of Keeping Natural Teeth
Dr. Barakat only recommends removing teeth as a last resort, typically when the health and stability of a tooth is compromised. After a comprehensive diagnostic process, he will present treatment options for addressing the underlying structural issues that are likely causing the teeth to appear crowded. In many cases, correcting this can allow the teeth to align properly and to support a natural and healthy oral structure.
Keeping all of your natural and healthy teeth can help you to avoid changes in your oral health and appearance as a result of orthodontic treatment.
- Flattening the bite: when natural teeth are removed and the remaining teeth are straightened, the appearance of the lower face can become “flattened”. This is due to the spreading of the palate and retraction of the bite with fewer teeth that occurs with braces. The end result can be a flattening of the face and changes in the appearance of the lips and chin over time.
- Snoring and sleep disorders: tooth removal can change the natural internal structure of the mouth and jaw, often leading to changes in the function of the airway. This can increase the risk of snoring and sleep apnea.
- Changes in tongue placement: all aspects of your natural smile work together systemically. If teeth are removed it can lead to changes in how the tongue rests, sometimes creating blockages of the airway or placing pressure on the back of teeth. Over time, this can affect your oral health, tooth position, and natural breathing.
- TMJ problems: removing teeth and changing bite patterns can also leads to TMJ disorders. Keeping your natural teeth and creating a treatment plan that repositions them to address overcrowding is beneficial to your long term oral health and the stability of your bite. Pulling teeth causes extra space in the bite. This forces a dentist to pull the teeth back through orthodontia, which subsequently forces the lower jaw back. These unnatural changes put undue pressure on the jaw joint and compress it which can lead to jaw pain, popping and clicking, headaches, and a number of other symptoms.
Treatment for Overcrowding
Dr. Barakat will present suitable treatment options for your orthodontic needs and offers alternatives to tooth removal in the case of overcrowding for most patients. For younger patients, early phase orthodontic treatments can be used to adjust jaw structure during the growth phase, promoting a healthier and more stable bite. In some cases, phase one treatment may help a patient avoid the need for braces.
The incorporation of orthodontic appliances may be recommended. These can be used to create a wider palate or facilitate changes in jaw structure to allow all existing teeth to be repositioned with braces.