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Scientific research: Tooth extraction for preventing displaced canines in children?

Braces on teenagerIs tooth extraction effective in preventing adult canines from erupting in the wrong place? A new study by Cochrane researchers brings new information about the practice of tooth extraction of baby canines.

Why consider tooth extraction?

The adult canine teeth (tooth number 3 from the middle) erupt around the age of 12. In 2-3% of all 12-year-olds the canine tooth erupts in the wrong place – in the roof of the mouth. It has been of great concern to dentists to prevent the canines from erupting in the wrong place, since this can cause damage to the neighbouring teeth or cause unfavourable movement of these teeth. For many years extraction of the baby canines been the practice of dentists in order to make way for the adult canine teeth. But does tooth extraction prevent displaced canines?

Is tooth extraction effective?

According to the Cochrane review there is no substantial scientific evidence that extraction of the baby canine teeth will prevent displaced eruption of the adult canine tooth. “The recommendation of extracting the baby canine is in fact based on one uncontrolled study that was carried out over twenty years ago,” says one of the authors of the study. The study seemed to prove that tooth extraction makes way for the adult canines, but since there was no control group in the study, the evidence is not conclusive.

Is tooth extraction ineffective, then?

The absence of evidence, however, does not necessarily mean that tooth extraction is not an effective method. The study concludes that there is a need to improve the quality of the research on the question of whether or not tooth extraction can be recommended in order to help the canine teeth erupt correctly.

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