Do I Need A Tooth Extraction Before Orthodontic Treatment?

Undergoing orthodontic treatment is a big step in your dental health. Some patients require the additional step of tooth extraction beforehand. At Kovacs Orthodontics, we support our patients through each step and ensure they are confident in their treatment plans. Our team is here to answer your questions, such as if you need a tooth extraction before orthodontic treatment, what the process is like, and if there are any alternatives.


What is Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontists like Dr. Kovacs specialize in realigning your teeth and jaw to fix common complications such as crowding, bite issues, malocclusion, and protruding teeth. Their job is to help your smile shine and reach its perfect placement. We use treatments such as metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign, each working to shift your teeth differently to accomplish the same beautiful results. 

Your first appointment with an orthodontist is recommended to be around age seven, with treatment for most beginning in early adolescence. This allows us to spot any issues related to crowding that can be fixed while your jaw is still malleable and avoid tooth extraction.


Why Might You Need a Tooth Extracted? 

While tooth extraction may not be necessary for each patient, your free consultation with Dr. Kovacs gives our team a chance to learn more about your orthodontic needs and the specifics of your case. 

During this time, we determine which treatments will be most effective and if anything must be done before starting. Some teeth might need to be removed for your teeth to properly shift once braces or Invisalign are placed.


The most common cause of tooth extraction before braces is crowding. When your teeth are tightly packed together and don’t have enough space to erupt correctly, your teeth will angle out of place, leading to misalignment. When more teeth than expected try to grow in, complications arise.

Correcting Bite Issues and Protruding Teeth

Another reason you may benefit from tooth extraction is due to an over or underbite. The placement of your teeth is affected by your jaw position and how much space there is for your teeth to shift into place. Removing a tooth may help negate the need for jaw surgery or other more invasive procedures affecting your braces treatment.

Similarly, protruding teeth alter the shape and appearance of your lips. Taking teeth from the side out can help Dr. Kovacs reposition your front teeth backward to fit back into an ideal position.

An Unhealthy Tooth

When a tooth becomes damaged or unhealthy, so much so that it is unsalvagable, Dr. Kovacs will likely recommend getting it extracted before braces treatment. Sometimes, trauma suffered by teeth can interrupt the movement process and the effectiveness of your alignment.


Do I Need A Tooth Extraction Before Orthodontic Treatment?

How Does Tooth Extraction Work?

Understanding the Process

The procedure you will undergo depends on the condition of the tooth set to be removed. It can be done with a simple extraction if it is healthy and has fully erupted past the gum line. We will use a pair of forceps to work the tooth back and forth until it loosens and eventually dislodges from place. You can generally expect a quick recovery time.

However, if the tooth is damaged or has not fully emerged past the gum line, the process may require a few more steps, such as cutting back part of your gums to get a proper grip, resulting in some stitches for healing. This will need the help of an oral surgeon and extend your recovery time.

Does It Hurt?

There is some discomfort associated with the aftermath of tooth extraction, but you won’t feel any pain during the extraction itself! Our team will provide a numbing agent to prevent you from feeling pain at the tooth site, including your surrounding gums and jawbone.  

Post-Procedure Care

In the first 24 hours after your procedure, you will experience some bleeding from the extraction area. It is crucial to continue biting down on the gauze we provide you with to assist in forming a blood clot. Our team will provide instructions for the following days to ensure a smooth healing process.


How Long Do You Need To Wait For Braces After Extraction?  

Depending on the extraction you underwent, your recovery time may last between two to four weeks. As mentioned, a simple extraction will require less healing time as no stitches or cuts are involved. On the other hand, surgical extraction can take up to a month or longer to ensure excessive trauma is not caused to your teeth later with braces. 

Dr. Kovacs can answer specific details about your case and provide a timeline of what to expect from the day your teeth are extracted to the day your braces are put on.


Alternatives to Removing Teeth

It is important to note that tooth extraction is only conducted when necessary to allow for a more effective teeth straightening process. Sometimes, we can use other less involved methods to accomplish the work you need before beginning your smile journey. The earlier we can check out your teeth, the more straightforward treatments we can take advantage of.

Especially for younger patients, one of those ways is using a palate expander. This metal device is placed on your upper jaw to widen the area slowly over some time. Each day, a small key is turned to expand the device and create space for your dental arches. Be sure to ask Dr. Kovacs and our team about other alternatives depending on your case.


Do I Need A Tooth Extraction Before Orthodontic Treatment?

Work Toward Perfect Alignment Today!

Our team at Kovacs Orthodontics is passionate about educating our patients on their treatment options and how we go about the process. If you have any questions about tooth extraction and what to expect, please contact our front desk, and we will happily answer them! We provide expert orthodontics services to Billings, Miles City, and the surrounding communities. Schedule your free consultation with Dr. Kovacs today and begin treatment!