Depending on the severity of your misalignment, orthodontic treatment can involve more than just braces. One common additional step in the process involves having teeth pulled.
Why are teeth pulled for braces?
Orthodontic appliances work by gradually shifting your teeth into a desired position. If your teeth are crowded, it may be necessary to take some of them out to make room for the others to move comfortably. Orthodontists often start with the wisdom teeth and then move to the back bicuspids if more extractions are needed. To maintain symmetry, teeth are often pulled in pairs or in groups of four.
Is it painful?
We won't deny that tooth extraction causes some discomfort. The oral surgeon who performs the procedure will often apply a local anesthetic and provide you with a prescription medication to help with the pain. You will be instructed to eat soft foods for a few days after the procedure, but otherwise the recovery process will go relatively quickly.
When can I get braces put on?
Your orthodontist can install your orthodontic appliances immediately after the extractions, but you may want to wait until your teeth and gums are a little less sore.
When will the gaps close?
The length of time that it will take for your teeth to regain their appearance will depend on your unique case. You can expect the gaps to close anywhere from four to 12 months after the extractions. Your orthodontist will measure the progress of the movement every month – this information is especially helpful when it seems likes your teeth aren't moving at all!