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FAQ:  Underbite


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Extraction Orthodontics

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Question:
My 13 year old has had braces for two and a half years for an underbite. At our last visit his orthodontist mentioned his bottom jaw is starting to extend again.

He wants to remove two of my son's bottom teeth (21 and 28). How will taking two teeth out affect him in adulthood when his jaw has finished growing and wisdom teeth have came in? Will this all be in vain? ...Visitor from Winchester

Answer:
Extraction orthodontics is a controversial procedure.

Many orthodontists promote the procedure.... and many orthodontists avoid using the procedure.

For many patients.... even the smallest change in cosmetic appearances is disturbing, especially if the upper arch is "treated" with extractions. Not surprisingly, many adult patients elect to have "reverse ortho" done to have implants placed where missing teeth existed during their younger years.

With respect to using extraction orthodontics for normalizing a bite that is apparently changing to growth spurts.... it should be remembered that growth spurts can continue for many years, yet.

Get some additional opinions..... 3 or 4 would be good... including an opinion from an oral surgeon who ROUTINELY performs orthognathic surgery.

It may be that your son would be a "better candidate" for orthognathic surgery that is typically used to correct growth disparities between the upper and lower jaws.

Having extraction ortho performed at this stage may be premature which could require even additional treatments later if additional growth spurts occur.

Editorial Staff

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