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FAQ:  Orthodontics - Children - Teens



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Orthodontics Ask The Dentist Edward Leventhal Question:
Pros and Cons of Extracting Permanent Teeth: I have a 9 year old daughter who's mouth is very crowded.

She has lost all but 4 of her baby teeth. Our orthodontist is recommending that we have 4 permanent teeth extracted. Is this a good idea?

I am worried about how her mouth and face will look without all her teeth. I also hear from a friend who works in the dental field that removing permanent teeth could cause migraines.

Is this true? I don't know what to do! ....Visitor from MN

Answer:
I am against extracting healthy teeth in children and young adults under any conditions including orthodontic crowding.

Teeth can be moved into correct position, room can be created for all teeth (with the possible exception of wisdom teeth). There is almost no advantage to a patient in starting orthodontic therapy until all baby teetb have been lost.

I only start children before that time if their teeth are causing some emotional problem. We correct for a year to eliminate the esthetic problem that is causing a social or emotional problem. We remove all braces, and if necessary restart orthodontics when all baby teeth are lost.

I have seen too many cases of braces remaining on while waiting for teeth to erupt.

With a nine year old, there is no major hurry except for the possibility of emotional issues created by crowding. Do your child a favor and have her treated by a dentist trained to straighten teeth without extractions. The result is much better.

In any event, in my opinion it is absolutely wrong and totally unnecessary to remove healthy teeth from a nine year old due to crowding.

Edward Leventhal, DDS
Baltimore Cosmetic Implant Dentistry
8860 Belair Road
Baltimore, MD 21236
(410) 256-7300

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