Do I Need Teeth Removed for Braces? (9 EASY READ FACTS)

Let’s say you’re new to the orthodontic world. Straight teeth are the goal for your child, which normally includes braces and retainers for most patients. However, your appointment also includes talk about tooth extraction. You then ask how many teeth should be removed before getting braces. The answer to this question is unique to every patient. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into the orthodontic world so that you can learn why do you need teeth removed for braces and what is necessary in specific cases. Let’s get diving.


Do I Need Teeth Removed for Braces?

The Main Purpose of Braces

You may ask, do children need to remove teeth for braces? This question is understandable, especially if your child is relatively young. Baby teeth fall out without much concern. Pulling fresh, adult teeth, however, makes parents’ eyebrows rise upward.

Before you understand the relation between tooth extraction and braces, it is best to learn the main purpose of dental appliances first. Braces serve these purposes, including:

  • Improving the smile
  • Fighting off speech impediments
  • Promoting good, oral hygiene
  • Increasing self-confidence

Orthodontia is essentially the art of straightening and aligning the teeth and jaw. If an orthodontist notices that the teeth cannot be manipulated as they are in their natural state, pulling them may be necessary.

Which Teeth are Removed for Braces?

Bicuspid (premolar) teeth are the most commonly removed for braces. These are the teeth located in the middle of the mouth, between the canine teeth (the front teeth) and the molar teeth (the back teeth). Extraction may be recommended for teeth with large fillings, impacted or damaged previously.

Making Space When Possible

Do adults need to remove teeth before fitting braces? The answer is yes if space is an issue. Adults’ palates are fixed into position at this point. The only way to make space is to pull teeth. Jaw surgery is an alternative, but it’s typically considered too invasive compared to simple extractions.

In contrast, children are still developing. Their palates are actually malleable. Doctors can install expanders across the palate. Through systematic adjustments, the expanders widen the palate so that there’s room for more or larger teeth. Extractions may still be necessary, but the expansion helps the child with a larger jaw to accommodate those adult teeth.

When Crowding Occurs

Another reason why extractions are necessary is due to crowding. A child had expanders on for several months. The palate and jaw are as large as they’re going to be. Adult teeth that are breaking through the gums, however, are incredibly large.

The child’s jaw development hasn’t met the speed of tooth maturation. In these cases, crowding occurs. Teeth twist into unusual positions so that they can accommodate all of the erupting teeth around them. Extractions in strategic areas alleviate the crowding problem.

How many teeth should be removed before getting braces? This number will depend on the severity of the teeth crowding. Some people require procedures to remove a tooth while others deal with two or three extractions.


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Impacted-Tooth Concerns

Tooth extraction is definitely a possibility when impacted teeth are part of the scenario. Impacted teeth reside in the gums. They won’t drop down into their normal positions. You may not realize that you have impacted teeth. A few symptoms might develop before you have an official diagnosis, including:

  • Swollen gums
  • Headaches

Your doctor must X-ray the jaw to see what the situation entails. Impacted teeth can come in at all sorts of angles, such as horizontally to the jaw. If the tooth is at a relatively normal angle, the orthodontist might bring it down by using a bracket and chain. Extraction, however, is often the path that’s chosen if the tooth is truly out of alignment and stuck within the gums.

Fighting Back Protrusions

The front teeth have a big factor when smiling to gain acceptance from the world around you. These teeth, however, may stick out or protrude. This situation occurs when teeth behind the front ones are pressing forward. You might experience lip protrusions too.

Do adults need to remove teeth before getting braces? Yes, they must have extractions if these protrusions are pronounced.  Or else, the teeth cannot be straightened otherwise. Most orthodontists will remove few teeth that are near the back of the mouth so that your front teeth can simply slip back into place.

Midline Shifts

Symmetry is a huge concern in the orthodontia world. The space between your front two teeth should be in line with both the upper and lower jaws. If this line is offset, you have a midline shift. Orthodontists deal with this issue by removing certain teeth that are causing the misalignment.

You might wear headgear as a way to shift the jaw back into position as well. Treatment normally involves several steps so that every concern is addressed. Midline shifts can worsen over time if treatment isn’t followed as suggested by your orthodontist.

Wisdom-Teeth Arrival

Wisdom teeth are the last molars to grow in as you reach adolescence. Patients normally see them around ages 15 or 16 years. You may have braces on at this point. The majority of orthodontists will suggest wisdom-teeth removal because their eruption leads to crowding or twisted teeth along your jaw otherwise.

Surgeries for this issue are incredibly common with quick recovery time. With extra space in the jaw, the orthodontic treatment can continue without any strain on the brackets, wires or bands.

Bite Alignment

It’s a reality that most people don’t have a perfect bite. There are three types of bite anomalies, including:

Braces, rubber bands, and headgear can all address the bite issue. However, removing teeth can be part of the picture too. The bite might have teeth that are hindering any corrections. Your orthodontist can show you an X-ray so that the visualization is easier to understand. Relieving the strain on the jaw with extraction is a basic part of treatment.

Exploring Extra Teeth

Do children need to extract teeth for braces? If they have extra teeth than what’s considered normal, the answer is definitely yes. Extra teeth can occur in some patients when they have a developmental anomaly. The body simply creates one or two extra teeth.

The jaw can’t possibly support these teeth, especially with wisdom teeth on the way for children and preteens. The orthodontist will remove the extra teeth and any other ones that may be cause for concern. Most doctors won’t spread out extractions over multiple procedures. They want to get the work done during one appointment whenever possible.



Ideally, bring your child to the orthodontist when he or she is losing baby teeth. Dr. McDermott can evaluate the jaw for any treatment in the near future. Contact the office today. Straight teeth last a lifetime with a talented orthodontist’s help.


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