Most patients and parents don’t have to go to an orthodontist to know that they have dental crowding. They can look in the mouth and see for themselves. And when you see crowded, crook teeth and you say “I want straight teeth”, you have to have more space.
You need space to be able to align the teeth. There are two main ways to gain space in a dental arch, expansion or extraction. You should be aware that this has been an area of controversy in orthodontics for over 100 years.
Some doctors feel very strongly that they have the answer. There was a story that I heard in grad school about a panel discussion at a national meeting, that ended in a fist fight between the two sides. You should try to keep an open mind and educate yourself about the many variables. The physical size of the teeth, the size of the jaw bones, how the teeth relate to the person’s profile, how the dental arches relate to each other, and the wisdom teeth are just a few of the considerations.
In my opinion, each person is unique and it is very important to evaluate carefully the different factors and understand the pros and cons of the different choices. In my opinion, that is one of the most important things to know, that you have choices.