Do I Need A Tooth Extraction Before Orthodontic Treatment?

At Rio Grande Orthodontics, we provide our patients with the resources necessary to keep their oral health in perfect condition and support their journey along the way. If you are seeking out braces treatment, you may wonder if you need a tooth extraction. Our team is here to answer all your questions about the process, the care we provide, and why one may need a tooth extraction.


Overview of Orthodontic Care

You may know friends or family who have begun the orthodontic treatment process and have had their smiles aligned. Our incredible orthodontists, Dr. Gardiner, Dr. Klinger, Dr. Vest, and Dr. Kellam, specialize in fixing patients’ teeth and jaw toward perfect alignment. They work to solve common complications such as bite issues, protruding teeth, crowding, and malocclusion. 

From tried-and-true treatments like metal braces to the latest orthodontic technology like clear aligners, our office is proud to offer a range of options for our patients to fit various lifestyles and dental needs. We recommend your first appointment at age seven, when your jawbones are still malleable, and your teeth are still growing.


Why You May Need a Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is not always a necessary step for patients. However, coming into our offices for a free consultation with one of our expert orthodontists will allow us to learn more about your needs and share what is necessary to reach your smile goals. Our team can inform you if tooth extraction is something to consider for your case.

Correction of Bite Issues

If you suffer from an under or overbite or deal with protruding teeth, you may benefit from a tooth extraction before starting orthodontic treatment. The placement of your teeth affects your jaw position and how much space is allowed for your teeth to grow into. Tooth extraction can help avoid invasive procedures like jaw surgery later in life.

An Unhealthy Tooth

When a tooth becomes damaged or unhealthy, so much so that it is unsalvagable, our orthodontists 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.


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, they will angle out of place, leading to misalignment. When more teeth than expected try to grow in the same place, complications begin.


Waiting Time Before Braces Treatment

The kind of extraction you undergo affects how long the healing period will be before you can begin braces treatment. If all that is needed is a simple extraction to create space, you may only need to wait about two weeks for your teeth to return to normal. However, if your extraction requires stitches, it can be closer to a month so as not to cause any excessive trauma to your teeth in a short period. 

Dr. Gardiner, Dr. Klinger, Dr. Vest, or Dr. Kellam will be able to provide you with a more precise healing timeline and how long you will need to wait before braces. The most important part is to keep your teeth as healthy as possible before beginning their new phase in treatment.  


Do I Need A Tooth Extraction Before Orthodontic Treatment?

The Process of Tooth Extraction

About the Procedure 

Your procedure depends on the condition of the tooth that is 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, when dealing with a damaged or unhealthy tooth that has not yet emerged past the gum line, the process will require the extra step of an oral surgeon’s skills. They will need to cut back part of your gums to get a strong enough grip to shift the tooth back and forth out of place. This will require stitches and add some time to your recovery.

Is It Painful?

Luckily, we prevent you from feeling any pain from the procedure with the help of a numbing agent or anesthetic. Doing so ensures you don’t feel anything around the tooth, including the gum and jawbone area. We understand some patients are nervous about the process, but our team assures you we do everything to keep you as comfortable as possible.

Care After the Procedure

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.


Are There Alternatives to Extraction?

It is important to note that tooth extraction is only done when necessary to allow for a more effective teeth straightening process and not put your teeth through unnecessary trauma. Sometimes, we can use other less involved methods to accomplish your desired work before beginning your smile journey. 

One of the most common that our younger patients can utilize is the help of palatal expanders, a device placed on the upper jaw to slowly widen the area over time and create space for extra or crowded teeth to move into their proper positions. Be sure to ask our team of orthodontists if you are a candidate to proceed with other alternative treatments!

Do I Need A Tooth Extraction Before Orthodontic Treatment?

Achieve Perfect Alignment Today!

Tooth extraction may sound daunting, but the Rio Grande Orthodontics team is here to ensure your time with us is as comfortable as possible. We proudly support Albuquerque, Edgewood, Espanola, Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Taos, Socorro, and the surrounding areas with our orthodontic services. Contact any of our offices today to schedule a free consultation and begin working toward treatment!