The process of getting braces for adults differs somewhat from patients who pursue this treatment as children or adolescents. Because the patient’s jaw growth is complete by adulthood, the orthodontist can no longer manipulate the pattern of jaw development to correct misalignment of the teeth. As a result, patients with severe crowding may need to have teeth extracted prior to treatment. This creates room for the other teeth to move into the correct positions.
Braces for adults work just like braces for younger patients do. That is, the appliances apply forces to the teeth in order to break down the bone structure that holds them in place so that they can move into the right places. However, when a patient’s jaw is too small to accommodate this movement with all of the teeth remaining in the smile, extraction may be recommended. Your orthodontist will need to make this determination.
If tooth extraction is necessary, your orthodontist will advise you of this rather early in the process, possibly as soon as your initial consultation. This will give you adequate time to prepare for that component of your treatment. For adult patients who still have their wisdom teeth, extraction may be recommended prior to treatment as well. Impacted wisdom teeth can undo the results of orthodontic treatment, so patients who have this concern may want to explore extraction prior to treatment.
When an extraction is necessary, teeth that have erupted properly typically can be removed via simple extraction. Impacted teeth will most likely need to be removed surgically, however. Regardless, an initial extraction doesn’t need to delay braces for adults for any significant period of time.
Tooth extraction can help to achieve the goals of patients who are getting braces, although this step is not always necessary. Come to an initial consultation at Fleming Orthodontics to learn more about the course of treatment recommended in your specific case.