Category Archives: Latest News

Is Jaw Surgery the Only Way to Correct an Overbite?

Do you need jaw surgery to correct an overbite, or is there another way to move your lower jaw forward?

jaw surgery for overbite

The answer to those questions depends on the severity of your overbite. Only an experienced oral surgeon can determine whether your situation requires surgery. Meanwhile, it may help to understand the various treatment approaches used for bite correction.

A Mild Overbite May Be Corrected Without Jaw Surgery

A slight overbite, in which the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by 3 to 5 mm, can often be corrected through nonsurgical means.

A variety of orthodontic appliances can be used to help reposition the lower jaw. Braces and elastics can be used with many mild overbites, for example, while other patients require bonded retainers, bite plates, archwires, headgear or coiled springs. These methods of correction are typically done by an orthodontist.

Although these procedures help patients avoid surgery, correcting an overbite with any of these devices can take a long time. In fact, some patients must wear orthodontic appliances for years to achieve the desired results.

Jaw Surgery Is Most Effective for a Significant Overbite

If your upper teeth hang over your lower teeth by more than a few millimeters — and you want to see a marked improvement — jaw surgery will likely be necessary. Orthodontic treatments cannot fully correct significant bite problems.

To correct a moderate to severe jaw misalignment, the oral surgeon separates the bone at the rear of your lower jaw so that your chin can be pulled forward. After the bone is surgically modified, it will be fixed in place with plates and screws.

This type of surgery can usually be performed through incisions made inside the mouth. Most patients end up with very little visible scarring after healing from their overbite correction surgery.

Which Overbite Correction Method Is Right for You?

If your teeth don’t meet properly, you may have problems chewing, speaking and breathing. Left uncorrected, your bite problem can lead to an aged appearance, as the lower half of your face may eventually begin to look tired and drawn.

Because every patient’s overbite is different, no one-size-fits-all approach can be used for correction. To learn more about your options, schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons. For some patients, both surgical and orthodontic treatments are necessary.

During your consultation, the oral surgeon will use X-rays, computer imaging techniques and three-dimensional models to evaluate the severity of your overbite. This technology can also be used to demonstrate how jaw surgery corrects a bite problem.

Fixing your bite problem can have a dramatic and positive effect on both your facial function and appearance. The oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can help you select the best way to correct your overbite. Call our Salt Lake City office to schedule a jaw surgery consultation today.

Does Tooth Extraction Cause Changes in Alignment?​

After a tooth extraction, some patients report feeling as if their alignment has changed. The most common complaints are that their teeth don’t seem to meet as they used to, or that their bite feels slightly different.

tooth extraction Utah

Can a tooth extraction affect your bite, the alignment of your teeth or how they fit in the jawbone?

How Wisdom Tooth Extraction Affects Bite & Alignment

The wisdom teeth, or third molars, are at the very back of the mouth, so removing them cannot really change the alignment of your other teeth. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t notice a difference in your bite after they’re gone.

Extracting the third molars does not cause the other teeth to shift, but removing them can relieve pressure in the mouth. For example, you may find it easier to floss, which can make you feel as if your tooth alignment has changed.

In addition, recovering from wisdom tooth extraction takes an average of about three or four weeks. During the recovery period, the temporomandibular joint and soft tissues in the mouth can swell. This can also make your mouth feel odd or misaligned.

Once the swelling dissipates, your bite should return to normal again.

How Other Extractions Affect Tooth Alignment

Unlike the third molars, removing teeth elsewhere in the mouth can change how your jaws fit together.

If the tooth to be extracted is prominent or affects how your jaws close, removing it can make your bite feel different almost immediately.

And over time, this type of extraction can lead to a shift in tooth alignment. The teeth that surround the empty socket endure extra pressure when you bite and chew. This can eventually cause them to drift into the open space, altering the way your teeth fit together when your jaw is closed or relaxed.

How to Maintain Proper Tooth Alignment

To avoid changes in the alignment of your teeth, we recommend that you have a replacement or restoration performed as soon as possible after a tooth extraction (other than the wisdom teeth).

Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement. Implants feel, look and function just like real teeth. And because they are implanted into the jawbone, they stimulate underlying bone growth and prevent bone loss.

Dentures and bridges can also help prevent changes in how the jaws fit together. However, these tooth replacement methods do nothing to stop bone loss in the jaw.

Which tooth replacement method is right for you?

The experienced oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can help you understand your options and choose the most appropriate method. Schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to learn more about maintaining a healthy bite and proper alignment after a tooth extraction.

Is Oral Cancer Curable?

A diagnosis of oral cancer strikes fear in the hearts of patients and their families. Unfortunately, this disease remains all too common. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that about 49,750 people in the United States will be stricken with oral or oropharyngeal cancer in 2017.

Patients diagnosed with oral carcinoma often have many questions regarding their treatment options. And although some prefer not to discuss survival statistics, many patients want to know more about their prognosis.

oral cancer

Patients often ask whether oropharyngeal malignancy is curable. Unfortunately, no complete cure (as such) yet exists, for this or any other type of cancer. However, for many patients, this disease can be successfully treated.

Oral Cancer Is Highly Treatable when Caught Early Enough

As with other types of cancer, oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer is treatable when caught during its initial stages.

Patients diagnosed with local carcinoma have the best chance for a positive outcome. Or, in other words, if the cancerous area has not progressed beyond where it started (in the tongue, tonsils, gums, lips or another part of the mouth) and, it hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes or other nearby tissues, treatments have a high likelihood of destroying the cancer cells.

Prior to beginning treatment, we may need to address any dental health issues you may have. Resolving infection and stabilizing or extracting unhealthy teeth helps prevent many complications that can result from cancer treatment.

Advanced Stage Oral Cancer Can Be Treated

Regional carcinomas that have spread to nearby tissues or the lymph nodes, and distant cancers that have metastasized to other organs can be more difficult to treat. However, patients with advanced pathology can still have a positive outcome.

Every patient is different, and no statistics can determine individual prognosis. Likewise, no medical or dental professional can know whether treatment will be successful, no matter what stage the cancer is in. Cancer survivability knows no absolutes or definitive rules.

The best way to help ensure a positive outcome is to be proactive with your oral health.

Practice Oral Cancer Prevention

Scientists don’t yet have the answers about what causes oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. However, avoiding certain risk factors can reduce your chances of developing this disease.

Avoid tobacco, and enjoy alcohol in moderation, if at all. Sun protection is essential, as exposure can lead to oropharyngeal cancer. Apply sunscreen to your face and neck regularly, and use a protective lip balm whenever you are outside. Note: harmful UV rays aren’t deterred by cloud cover, so follow this advice whether the sun is out or not.

Schedule a professional oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer evaluation at least once per year. Twice is better, and the examinations can be combined with your regular dental or oral surgeon visit. Regular dental health exams can detect early warning signs, making the disease easier to treat.

Finally, conduct an oral cancer self-check at least once each month. If you notice anything unusual, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The chances of it being pathological are small, but we never want to take chances with your oral health.

Here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we are highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment a wide variety of oral health conditions. Call our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule your exam and screening for oral cancer.

 

Dental Implant Surgery Pros & Cons

Are you considering dental implants?

Thanks to advances in the techniques and materials used today, this surgery is a safe and effective method of restoring missing teeth. And for most patients, the benefits of implants clearly outweigh any potential drawbacks.

dental implant surgery

To help you decide if dental implants are for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this revolutionary approach to tooth restoration.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

Oral surgeons and patients alike consider implants to be the best method of tooth replacement (restoration) for three reasons: feel, functionality and appearance.

To the patient, implants feel like real teeth. They fit just as securely in the gums, so they are much more comfortable than bridges and dentures.

Once healing is complete, the replacement teeth function exactly like natural teeth, so patients can speak, bite and chew normally. Some foods are off-limits with dentures and bridges, but with implants you can enjoy any food you could eat with your natural teeth.

Finally, implants offer an exceptional aesthetic benefit. Unlike other tooth replacement options, no one will ever know that you have replacement teeth.

Drawbacks of Dental Implant Surgery

Patients who decide against this procedure typically do so for one of two reasons — cost or complexity.

Implants may not be covered by some dental insurance plans, or only partially covered. In that case, out-of-pocket costs can seem daunting, particularly for patients who need multiple replacement teeth.

However, as they can last a lifetime with the proper care, implants are a one-time expense. And because they are placed in the gums much like the natural tooth roots, implants help guard against bone loss in the jaw. Dentures and bridges do not, and the subsequent bone loss means that these restorations frequently require adjustment or replacement.

Complexity is another reason some patients to choose to forego implant surgery. Some patients require extensive co-procedures before implants can be successfully placed, which raise both the cost and time investment in tooth replacement.

Are Dental Implants Right for You?

Most patients are excellent candidates for dental implants. As long as you are healthy enough for a routine dental procedure, such as a tooth extraction or filling, you are likely a good candidate for implant surgery.

Some health conditions can influence your options for tooth replacement. Patients with cancer, degenerative bone disease and certain chronic illnesses may have difficulties with the healing process. Smoking is also a factor, as it can slow healing and increase the risk of implant failure.

The experienced professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can explain all of your options for restoring missing teeth. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule your dental implant surgery consultation.

Does Sleep Apnea Always Cause Snoring?

Both obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring can disrupt your sleep. And although the two conditions frequently go hand in hand, they don’t always.

Consequently, sleep disorders like OSA often go undiagnosed, as not every patient shares the same symptoms.

sleep apnea and snoring

Left untreated, OSA can have serious health consequences, including an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Since your doctor or oral surgeon isn’t around to observe your nighttime symptoms, understanding the differences between snoring and sleep apnea is the first step to diagnosis and successful treatment.

Snoring is a Symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea — Sometimes

Loud, habitual snoring is one of the most common warning signs of obstructive sleep apnea. And in fact, most patients who have OSA are snorers.

However, not everyone who snores has OSA. Snoring can be the result of other factors including allergies, weight gain and alcohol use. Anatomical obstructions (broken nose, deviated septum or enlarged tonsils) may also be to blame, and the risk of snoring increases with age.

Snoring is typically associated with OSA when it is accompanied by repeated pauses in breathing that last for several seconds or as long as a minute. Gasping or choking upon waking may also indicate OSA. But snoring without at least one of these additional symptoms is probably not related to obstructive apnea.

Other Potential Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Patients with OSA don’t always snore or wake up feeling as if they are choking or gasping for breath. Breathing disturbances can be subtle, and therefore often go unnoticed.

For that reason, physicians and oral surgeons analyze other symptoms to help diagnose sleep disorders. Complaints of insomnia, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, mood disturbances or a lack of energy may prompt a thorough evaluation for OSA.

Other seemingly unrelated symptoms may include weight gain, irritability, nightmares, problems with attention or concentration and dry mouth or throat.

Some common risk factors frequently associated with OSA are being overweight, having a large neck circumference (17-plus inches for men, 15-plus inches for women), nasal congestion, smoking and drinking alcohol. If you are male, older or have a family history, your risk is also greater.

Could You Have Sleep Apnea?

If you think you might have OSA or another sleep disorder, it’s important that you schedule a consultation.

Meanwhile, start keeping a sleep diary. Write down the times you go to sleep, wake up and take naps every day. Also keep track of how alert or sleepy you feel throughout the day, and make note if you experience any of the symptoms noted above.

You can also ask your sleeping companion to make an audio or video recording of your snoring and interrupted breathing patterns.

This information, along with a physical examination, can help us determine whether you may be at risk for OSA or another medical condition. To formally diagnose your condition, you will likely be asked to complete an overnight sleep study, either at a clinic or with a home-based monitor.

If you are diagnosed with OSA, we can explain your treatment options. We typically begin by recommending conservative treatment first, but if that isn’t successful, oral surgery can provide immediate relief.

The experienced doctors of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, have the experience and qualifications to successfully diagnose and treat OSA. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule your evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea.

Do Black Raspberries Hold the Key to Oral Cancer Prevention?

Oral cancer prevention is a pressing medical issue, and one that scientists continue to research. Much of the current research focuses on changes in lifestyle and eating habits, as certain foods and behaviors are known or suspected to influence the development of oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

oral-cancer-black-raspberries

Studies have revealed that eating black raspberries could aid in the prevention of oral cancer.

Animal Study Links Black Raspberries and Oral Cancer Prevention

The American Institute for Cancer Research recently presented an Ohio State University (OSU) study on black raspberries and tumor growth in rats.

For the research, rats with oral and oropharyngeal cancer were divided into three dietary groups. The control group ate a standard diet, while other two groups ate diets comprised of either 5 or 10 percent freeze-dried black raspberries, respectively.

The researchers found that the rats who ate the fruit showed increased signs of tumor cell death and reduced markers of inflammation, as compared to those on the standard diet.

Surprisingly, however, the 10 percent berry diet did not produce a better result than the 5 percent diet — just the opposite, in fact. Tumors in the rats eating the 5 percent diet shrank by 39 percent, while those on the 10 percent diet saw a reduction of only 29 percent.

Research on Berries and Oral Cancer Shows Promise

The OSU animal study was not the first to link cancer prevention and black raspberries.

In 2002, a different research team at OSU performed a similar study involving hamsters. Their results were the first to show that eating these berries can inhibit tumor growth in the oral cavity.

This research and other OSU studies (including one that studied the effect of berries on colon and esophageal cancer) have established a strong basis for scientists to examine the tumor-fighting properties of black raspberries. To date, the findings continue to be promising, suggesting that bioactive components in this fruit may indeed be valuable in oral and oropharyngeal cancer prevention.

Professional Recommendations for Oral Cancer Prevention

As human clinical studies have thus far been limited, scientists cannot state unequivocally that we can prevent oral and oropharyngeal cancer with dietary changes. However, since black raspberries are high in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, adding them to your regular diet will benefit you in many other ways.

Oral surgeons recommend other steps for preventing oropharyngeal cancer as well. We advise patients to avoid the known risk factors, like alcohol consumption and smoking. Self-screenings and regular checkups, including oral cancer screenings, are a must. Checkups are the best way for us to detect the early warning signs of oral pathology.

And when the disease is noticed in the early stages, the chances for successful treatment greatly increase.

Here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we are happy to offer more tips and information on cancer prevention strategies. We will also teach you and your family how to do your oral cancer self-checks each month. Call our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to schedule your oral cancer screening appointment today.

Is Tooth Extraction Safe if You’re Sick?

You have a tooth extraction scheduled, but you woke up with the sniffles. You feel run down and think you might have a cold. Should you reschedule your appointment?

tooth extraction safe

Cold and flu season is well underway here in Utah, so this is a common question from patients who have an upcoming oral surgery. But whether we need to reschedule your surgery depends on a few key factors.

Tooth Extraction Is Usually Safe with a Head Cold

You might be reluctant to postpone your appointment even if you don’t feel well. Perhaps it’s difficult for you to take time off from work. Or maybe you are in pain and ready to have that tooth removed.

Whatever your reason, you may not have to reschedule your extraction or oral surgery. If you are certain you only have a simple head cold and you feel up to having the procedure, we may be able to perform your extraction.

When Tooth Extraction Is NOT Safe

If you have symptoms beyond a slightly stuffy or runny nose, the oral surgery procedure will likely have to wait. A sore throat, fatigue, fever and muscle or body aches all point to you having the flu — not a cold.

Difficulty breathing freely through your nose can pose a problem during oral surgery. Coughing can also complicate matters and spread your cold around the office — it’s difficult to cover your mouth during the procedure. So if you have the flu or bronchitis, we may need to reschedule your extraction.

That is also the case if you are experiencing nausea or vomiting, or if you have been diagnosed with an infection or contagious condition of any kind.

Call Before Coming to Your Tooth Extraction Appointment

The best way to know if your cold will prevent you from having your tooth extracted is to contact our office.

Our staff will ask you some questions about your symptoms to clarify whether you can go ahead with your scheduled tooth extraction. In some cases, we may recommend you come in to discuss the matter with the surgeon. Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield may need to evaluate the severity of your symptoms to determine the right course of action.

The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah places your safety and comfort first. We don’t want to postpone your oral surgery procedure, but rescheduling may be necessary if you’ve fallen victim to cold and flu season.

For answers to more of your tooth extraction questions, explore our website or contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today.

Could Your Chronic Headaches Be Due to a Bite Problem?

If you suffer from chronic headaches, a dental bite problem could be to blame.

chronic headaches Utah

Headache pain can be difficult to diagnose and treat. In seeking relief, you may have already seen your physician and tried potential medical remedies. But if your frequent headaches continue, it may be time to see an oral surgeon.

For some patients, resolving their constant headache pain requires treatment for problems with their bite.

How Do Bite Problems Cause Chronic Headaches?

Frequent headache pain is often the result of tension. Doctors estimate that up to 80 percent of adults suffer tension headaches. For some patients, the problem is chronic, occurring more than 15 days out of every month.

The exact cause of tension headaches is not scientifically understood. Many medical experts believe that this vise-like headache pain is related to stress and strain in the muscles of the head and neck. For many patients, a problem bite contributes to that muscle strain.

When the upper and lower teeth don’t line up or fit together properly, the muscles in the jaw must work harder with every swallow to compensate for the imbalance. Since we swallow more than 2,000 times each day, a problem bite can really give the facial muscles a workout.

When these muscles are overworked, they begin to ache. Thanks to the body’s complex nerve structure, the pain can then radiate throughout the head.

Symptoms of Headaches Related to a Bite Problem

Tension headaches can manifest on one or both sides of the head, in the cheeks or in the jaw joints. Some patients report dull, aching pain while others experience a feeling of pressure or tightness across the forehead or around the head. The discomfort may also spread down through the neck and shoulders.

If your chronic headaches are the result of a problem bite, other symptoms may be present.

Patients may have sore or tired jaw muscles when they wake up in the morning, and they may grind their teeth at night and/or during the day. The jaw joints may make popping or clicking sounds, and you may have pain behind the eyes. If your head is painful to the touch, this is also a sign of a dental tension headache.

Bite Problem Treatment Can Relieve Chronic Headaches

If your chronic headaches are the result of a problem bite, physical therapy or an oral splint may provide relief.

For many patients, however, surgical correction of the problem may be necessary to cure the headaches for good. Corrective jaw surgery, known as orthognathic surgery, can restore a balanced facial structure and relieve chronic tension headaches.

If nonsurgical treatments have failed to solve your headache pain, the experienced treatment team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah may be able to help. Call one of our convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule a consultation to explore your chronic headaches and potential bite problem.

What to Eat — and NOT to Eat — to Improve Oral Health

Eating right can improve your oral health as well as your overall well-being. Your mouth is sensitive, and proper nutrition sets the foundation for optimal dental health.

improve oral health Utah

The USDA dietary guidelines recommend that we eat a wide variety of nutritious foods each day, consisting mainly of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and other protein sources. Fats, added sugars and sodium should be limited.

But did you know that by following a few additional dietary guidelines, you can help minimize cavity-causing bacterial plaque in your mouth?

The Best Food Choices to Improve Oral Health

Oral surgeons and dental experts advise limiting between-meal snacking, as it increases the time your teeth are exposed to acids that attack the tooth enamel. At the same time, many physicians recommend eating smaller, more frequent mini-meals throughout the day.

When you need to have a snack or mini-meal, go for a glass of milk, a handful of nuts, cheese, grilled or baked chicken or another lean meat. These foods help protect against tooth decay by providing calcium and phosphorous, both of which help strengthen and remineralize tooth enamel.

Firm and crunchy fruits and vegetables are also good choices to boost oral health. Apples, pears, carrots and sweet bell peppers contain natural sugars, but they also have a high water content. This dilutes the effect of the sugars and stimulates the flow of saliva to keep tooth damage at bay.

The Worst Food Choices for Teeth

Eating foods high in sugars — particularly those that stick to or get caught between the teeth — are the most damaging to your oral health.

Consequently, it’s important to limit how often you and your family members indulge in candy, cookies, cakes, muffins and dried fruits. You might be surprised to know that salty snacks (like chips, pretzels and crackers) are almost as harmful as sweets. The enzymes in saliva break down these simple carbohydrates, converting them to simple sugars — just like the kind found in candy. Plus, tiny, sharp bits of salty snacks can become lodged in the gums, causing irritation and trauma to the tissues.

Acidic foods, including citrus fruits and tomatoes, can increase the acid production in your mouth, damaging your tooth enamel. To avoid decay, enjoy these foods as part of a larger meal, rather than a stand-alone snack.

Skipping a snack in favor of sucking on a mint or hard candy is also a poor choice for your oral health, as the sugars they contain can increase bacterial plaque and decay.

The Truth About Oral Health and Beverages

What you drink throughout the day can also affect your oral health. Tap water is the best choice, as it contains fluoride, a natural cavity-fighter. Milk and unsweetened tea are other options that help make for strong, healthy teeth.

Drinks that contain sugar significantly increase the risk of tooth decay. Avoid soda, which also contains harmful levels of enamel-destroying phosphoric acid. Limit your consumption of fruit juices, cocoa, lemonade and coffee or tea with added sugar. When you do enjoy these beverages, do so alongside a meal or with a glass of water to dilute their effect on your tooth enamel.

Brush and floss after eating to optimize your oral health, or if that’s not possible, chew a piece of sugarless gum. One word of warning: If you’ve had an acidic snack, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you avoid brushing for 30 minutes, or you can damage your tooth enamel.

At Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, your family’s oral health is always our primary concern. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule an appointment.

Avoid Oral Surgery by Minimizing Tooth Misalignment

Tooth misalignment is often passed down from one generation to the next. However, oral
habits and dental issues during childhood can also play a role in the development of a
problem bite, a condition known as malocclusion.

first oral exam Utah

For some patients, even radical orthodontic treatment is insufficient for correcting
significant jaw or tooth misalignment. Instead, they must undergo oral surgery
(known as orthognathic surgery) to resolve the problem.

Malocclusion may not be preventable, but fortunately, parents can take steps to
minimize the severity of tooth misalignment in young children and — hopefully — avoid
the need for surgical tooth alignment.

Schedule an Oral Exam When the First Tooth Erupts

Many parents and caregivers wait too long to take their young children in for an oral
exam, believing that the baby teeth aren’t that important, since they’ll eventually be
replaced with permanent teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association both
say that children should have their first oral exam within six months after the first
baby tooth pops through the gums, but no later than the first birthday.

An oral exam offers an opportunity for an early diagnosis of cavities, late-arriving
primary teeth and other factors that could lead to jaw and tooth misalignment. So don’t
wait. As soon as you see the first baby tooth erupt, call to schedule a professional oral
exam for your child.

Curb Problems that Lead to Tooth Misalignment

Certain childhood oral habits can be problematic to the development of a proper bite.

Thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and the prolonged use of a pacifier or bottle can cause
tooth malocclusion, as these habits put pressure on the teeth. Forceful sucking is more
likely to result in a bite problem.

The larger concern comes when the adult teeth begin to emerge. Once the baby teeth
are gone, the damage has a greater potential to become permanent.

Your pediatrician, along with your oral surgeon or orthodontist, can offer tips on curbing
childhood oral habits that lead to malocclusion of the teeth and jaws.

Treating Children at Risk for Tooth Misalignment

In some children, the primary teeth stick around longer than they should, creating a
problem for the incoming permanent teeth. To prevent overcrowding and to make room
in the gums, your orthodontist or oral surgeon may recommend strategic, proactive tooth
extractions.

In addition, dental space-maintaining appliances may be used to guide the permanent
teeth into the proper position as they grow. These space maintainers can prevent the
teeth from shifting inappropriately and becoming misaligned.

Young children who lose teeth early due to decay, injury or trauma are also at risk for
tooth malocclusion, and may need professional assistance to avoid developing a
problem bite.

The experienced oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can help
preserve your child’s smile for the future. Call one of our convenient Salt Lake City-area
offices to schedule an appointment today to learn how we can minimize jaw and tooth
misalignment in your young child.