Are Teeth or Jaws the Problem When Teeth are Crowded?
A common problem we see every day at Szymanowski Orthodontics is crowding of teeth. This problem is often accompanied by protruding or “buck teeth”. Crowding can give the appearance the teeth are oversized or too big for the size of the jaws. However, this is not always correct. Often, it is not a tooth problem, but because the size of the jaws is too small or narrow to accommodate the teeth.
Throughout the years, orthodontists have approached this issue in different ways. In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, the most common practice was to remove permanent teeth to make room. Szymanowski Orthodontics recognizes that tooth extractions may not be necessary in many crowded situations. The removal of permanent teeth may result in lack of lip support or reduction of a patient’s profile. While the reduced profile may be acceptable in younger years, the reduction becomes more pronounced with the aging process and less flattering as they grow older. For this reason, correct treatment diagnosis when considering tooth removals is critical to the outcome of a good long term result.
Due to these aesthetic considerations, extensive research, and technological advancements in the field of orthodontics, many orthodontists have altered their view on how best to deal with crowded situations. Today, a non-extraction therapy is preferred rather than extracting permanent teeth in most treatment plans for children and adolescents. Instead, the treatment focus is on encouraging jaw growth to properly house all the teeth and is most successful when children and adolescents are still growing and developing.
This type of treatment usually is based on the use of specialized appliances and newly designed braces which can move teeth further and faster than traditional braces of old. Successful non-extraction therapy results in a more pleasing long-term facial balance and improved bites. It is recommended that children be checked out by an orthodontist by age 7 or 8 to find out if they are a candidate for this type of treatment.