Extracting teeth for orthodontics has been a controversial issue for decades. There are dentists who strongly support the practice, and there are others who avoid it at all costs. If you are faced with the potential need for a dental extraction, you have to decide if that is, in fact, the right path for you. “Is dental extraction right for me?” Let’s find out…
Pros of Dental Extraction
The primary reason for extracting teeth is because of crowding. There is not enough room to accommodate all the teeth. When this is the case, the problem is resolved by either enlarging of the arch form, reducing the size of the teeth, reducing the number of teeth or a combination of the above.
Cons of Dental Extraction
One of the draw backs of extracting teeth is that they will usually be extracted in pairs – two teeth per arch, usually bicuspids. The reason for taking out either two or four is to keep the smile symmetrical and keep the central incisors, the two front teeth, in the middle of the face. Of course, if you need 7 mm of room for teeth, you will need to extract (2) 6.5 mm bicuspids to keep the smile symmetrical. This is a little overkill, but necessary for symmetry. Most orthodontists and dentists have no problem closing up the excess space and having a beautiful smile as an outcome.
But there is one thing to consider when deciding to take out teeth or not…
The most important thing to consider with dental extraction is the tongue. The tongue is a muscle somewhat like the heart in that it occupies space. The tongue occupies the floor of the mouth and the roof of the mouth. When teeth are extracted and the spaces are closed up, the arch form of the upper and lower jaw is smaller. The tongue is the same size as it has always been and now it has less room.
Since the tongue is the same size and yet has less room, you may wonder how that can be. The answer is that the tongue now occupies more of the airway space. The small difference, as little as a 1 mm narrowing of the airway, is the volume difference of a garden hose and a fire hose.
This reduction in airway may lead to Sleep Breathing Disorders, contribute to ADHD and affect mood and mental wellbeing. It may also increase the likely hood of sleep apnea and the array of health issues that are directly related to it.
Should You Get a Dental Extraction?
It is always best to look at your alternatives before deciding on getting your teeth extracted. If your dentist or orthodontist tells you there is no other option, then get a second opinion and even a third.
For more information about the alternatives to dental extraction, please give us a call.
Imagine having a slow leak in your front left tire – the mechanic sells you a tire pump – informs you of the problem, tells you to check the tire pressure every 40-45 minutes and add air as needed. You should have an uneventful trip and have a nice day.
I can see this as one way of addressing the problem – but only on a short term basis.
Upon discovering one fact about sleep and how it relates to depression, I was compelled to write this in the hope that those suffering from depression may be informed and possibly resolve the problem and restore well being to their lives.
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