Lower Incisor Extraction??

Updated on June 15, 2018
M.E. asks from Watertown, MA
10 answers

My 12-year-old son will be getting braces soon. His original dentist/orthodontist had suggested that he get four molars removed before braces due to extreme overcrowding. We decided to take him to our local university dental school to save money ($2,000), and his student orthodontist recommends that he have one lower incisor removed instead. She has a faculty supervisor and works with a team of other orthos-in-training, so this is a group recommendation.

Does anyone have experience with this? I am afraid his bite will look really strange and asymmetrical since he will have four large teeth above and only three below. I'm also concerned that he will still have overcrowding. I don't want to make an expensive decision we will later regret!


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answers from Springfield on

I have no idea, but ...

One thing you might consider doing is go back to the orthodontist that suggested getting 4 molars removed. Tell him/her what the university said and get feedback on the his/her original advise compared to the university's suggestion.

I honestly might go back and forth between the 2 asking questions. Make both of them explain why their opinion is the right one and why the other is wrong ... or, to put it nicer, make them explain the advantages and disadvantages of both suggestions.

When I was 12 (more than 30 years ago) I was told I had overcrowding and had 4 bicuspids removed as well as my 2 remaining baby teeth. The reasoning at the time was that bicuspids were the least important teeth and that I would still have 4 left. I believe that that is outdated thinking and no longer recommended. So really, what do I know!?!

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Philadelphia on

Sounds to me like you need a third opinion. I would take him to an orthodontist at a children’s hospital.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would seek a third opinion in this case.

I myself had four bicuspids/molars removed before I got braces in high school.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

No way in he$$ wound I be scrimping and Penny pinching if it came to my child's health... especially something as important as a smile.

I understand trying to save money but the info you have from a student Dr vs a Dr, I assume who knows your kid, would sway your decision?

Nothing wrong with a 2nd opinion or more but I would trust the Dr I've been a regular patient of over a Dr in training.

You don't have a redo here if you make the wrong choice. Don't make a choice based on $$, make the choice based on the best thing for your child.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I am with everyone else go and get a third opinion.

My daughter had one upper tooth removed to make space for her other teeth. It was the first molar but believe me the next molar will fill right in and you don't see it in her smile.

When my daughter had her tooth removed as recommended by the orthodontist that was doing her braces and spacing. We went to an oral surgeon with her records in hand to see about and have the removal. There was no other ortho or second guessing of his opinion for treatment.

I would be cautious of a dental school doing the work. Somethings are just worth the price. But a third independent opinion might be your best bet to see who is recommending the best course of action. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Go to an experienced oral surgeon for another extraction opinion and also get another opinion from a different ortho. They will not/should not charge for a consult. I would keep asking questions until I have peace of mind about the procedure.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My son got braces and then got his 4 1st molars removed. The ones behind the canines.
His teeth look amazing.
It doesn't make sense symmetrically to pull have an uneven amount of teeth on top and bottom. I would go to a third ORTHODONTIST and get an opinion.



answers from Erie on

My son had the same issue, but our orthodontist didn't want to extract them, instead we waited until they fell out naturally. It took less than a year. All of my kids got teeth late (First baby teeth not erupting until after 11mos). According to our ortho, pulling the teeth to start braces early is often unnecessary, so we erred on the side of caution and waited.


answers from Washington DC on

so, get a second opinion.


from an actual dentist, not MP.




answers from Portland on

I don't have experience with what you describe - but in our case with our son and needing braces, it started with us mentioning our concerns to our dentist. We talked and then he made the referral. We were all on the same page and in agreement. So that us helped make our decision. I guess for us, that's our two opinions going together.

Did your dentist every suggest the overcrowding? I guess if they never did I'd be more in agreement to not remove all the molars and get a 3rd opinion.

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