What are serial extractions?
Serial extraction is the planned, sequential extraction of teeth.
The purpose of serial extraction is to reduce crowding. Crowding occurs when there is not enough space for all the teeth. This results in the teeth becoming irregular or crooked. With serial extraction, space is created for the growing permanent teeth. This allows the permanent teeth to be better aligned.
When is the best time to start?
When the lower front teeth are starting to grow, we can begin to see whether the teeth are going to be crowded. This would be around the age of 5 to 7 years.
Before treatment can begin, an X-ray needs to be taken to make sure all the permanent teeth are present and growing in the jaws. Models of the teeth may be taken as a record of the original condition of the teeth.
How often does my child need to come for treatment?
This depends on the stage of the child’s growth. As a general guideline, the child needs to be seen by the dentist about every 3-6 months. This way, the growth can be monitored and extractions can be done in a timely manner to minimize crowding.
How many teeth need to be removed?
This depends on how severely crowded the teeth are. In severely crowded cases, four permanent premolars may need to be removed.
With this treatment does my child need to wear braces?
Serial extraction begins at an early age to prevent or minimize the effects of crowding. In mild cases of crowding, treatment with braces may not be needed. In more severe cases, alignment of the teeth can be improved further with braces. Often, because serial extraction had been done, treatment with braces would be simpler and shorter.