To Extract or Not To Extract?


The age old question is,”To extract or not to extract?” (image above is a patient who we did not perform extractions on with Damon Clear braces)

One objection that some patients have to getting orthodontic treatment is that they just don’t want to have “healthy teeth” removed. Is it wrong to remove teeth when there is seemingly nothing wrong with them? Are there alternatives to removing healthy teeth?

There are several reasons why orthodontists prescribe the removal of permanent teeth in some treatment plans. The most common are:

  • crowding
  • overbite
  • protrusive teeth
  • asymmetries

We’ve had patients who are insistent that teeth not be removed and others who are insistent that we remove teeth (see upcoming blog on patient perspective).

The question is:

“Why remove perfectly healthy teeth?” or “Why remove perfectly healthy enamel?”

Factors taken into consideration when deciding to remove healthy teeth or enamel include, but are not limited to:

  • The health of the supporting structures of the teeth (the bone and gums)
  • The ability to close one’s lips more naturally
  • The position of the upper teeth in relation to the lower teeth (eg. removing teeth on top to correct an overbite, thus, preventing the need for surgery)
  • The volume of one’s airway/breathing space
  • Esthetics
  • Patient perspective (some patients feel that their teeth are “too forward”)

If we can provide treatment without removing teeth, that is our preference.

Like all dentists, orthodontists are concerned with preserving healthy teeth/enamel. We identify all of the problems that exist, evaluate every option available, and then formulate a plan that provides the maximum benefit for each individual patient.

The best way to make sure you’re receiving the best treatment plan for you is to find an experienced orthodontic specialist who will carefully evaluate your individual case and then put your trust in him/her. In the end, your customized treatment plan will give you a result that is much healthier than before your treatment began.

Request an complimentary consultation

*some information courtesy of:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s