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.
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.