Extraction for Space or Extraction for Face?

By: Dr LOH Kai-Woh

What is more important – a set of good looking teeth or a beautiful smile that comes with a set of good teeth? It will be great if we can succeed in getting a great set of teeth on a beautiful face. The latter is more important and it need not be a bonus when we finally deband a case. With experience and good planning, we can succeed in getting a great set of teeth on a beautiful face.

Most of us were trained to diagnose orthodontic problems using cephalometric norms and to treat our patients’ teeth to these cephalometric norms. When the general public looks at our patients’ head, do they see a cephalometric tracing or do they see a face? If the public sees a face than why are we treating our patients to certain cephalometric norms?

Do we extract teeth for space or for face? If we extract teeth solely for space and disregard the facial features we may end up getting great dental results but compromising the face. However, if the patient’s profile shows excessive bilabial protrusion, even extraction of teeth in jaws with ideal teeth positions can be justified if facial profile and appearance can be improved.

About the Speaker: Dr Loh Kai Woh has delivered lectures in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and Japan. His patients include many local celebrities. He was the Founding President, Association of Orthodontists (Singapore).