San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA
Many orthodontists recommend removing existing teeth before beginning orthodontic treatment to allow room to straighten teeth. While this is rather common in the field of orthodontics, these pre-procedure extractions are not always the wisest course of action. In fact, your San Francisco dentists at Glen Park Dental believe that, in many instances, parents should just say no when it comes to having teeth extracted prior to orthodontic treatment, and here is why.
Orthodontists recommend extractions to prevent crowding in the mouth
This crowding can occur after teeth have been straightened, but there are risks associated with removing these teeth as a pre-emptive measure. Usually, the teeth removed as a precursor to orthodontic treatment are four bicuspids, with two removed from each dental arch. Removing these teeth can lead to a misalignment of the bite or, if a patient already suffers from this condition (clinically referred to as malocclusion), then the condition actually can become worse.
Conventional orthodontic treatment also may result in lengthening the face, which can result in a narrow airway and actually change one’s appearance. Having a longer face also increases susceptibility to various jaw disorders, including temporomandibular joint disorder, which is typified by symptoms of severe, chronic pain. In fact, according to the findings of multiple research studies, symptoms of TMJ disorder have been identified in as many as 60 percent of all patients who seek orthodontic treatment. And, by undergoing treatment from a conventional orthodontist, these symptoms often will become worse.
Glen Park Dental believes in functional orthodontics
Functional orthodontics refers to a philosophy that focuses on the health of the entire orofacial system, rather than just straightens teeth. By using orthodontics in combination with facial growth guidance therapy, functional orthodontics can produce a host of benefits—including fully developed jaws that allow all the permanent teeth to fit naturally into the mouth without requiring any extractions to prevent crowding. Other successful outcomes of functional orthodontics include wide dental arches, which expands the upper palate to make enough room for the tongue and facilitate an open airway, which reduces the likelihood of breathing issues such as a sleep breathing disorder. Also, finding the ideal oral resting posture, which includes lips closed, teeth closed, and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth.
A dentist or orthodontist who practices functional orthodontics will not perform extractions prior to orthodontic treatment. Functional orthodontics can achieve jaw growth even in adults. However, it is important to remember that most individuals have completed 90 percent of their facial growth by the age of 12, making it imperative to seek functional orthodontic treatment early in life when a child is as young as four or five years old.
At Glen Park Dental, we are proud to offer functional orthodontics in San Francisco as part of our range of state-of-the-art oral health services. Our staff includes Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian, who has extensive training in advanced orthodontics and has used the principles of functional orthodontics to help many patients in the Bay Area achieve a balanced facial profile, an open airway, healthy jaw joints and, yes, straighter teeth. Find out more about our program of orthodontics by calling (415) 799-3900 to schedule a consultation.
Glen Park Dental is proud to offer comprehensive oral care to patients in the areas of Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco in California.