Serial extraction is the carefully planned and selective removal of
baby (primary) teeth to create room for incoming permanent
(secondary) teeth. Dentists or orthodontists
consider removing teeth because after age 8, the space for a child’s teeth
(arch length) doesn’t increase. Severe crowding of
teeth at this age means that permanent teeth are likely to come in out of
place. This can result in a bad bite or crooked teeth (malocclusion).
Often an orthodontist will remove the primary canine teeth after the
two front secondary incisors on top and bottom have erupted. This makes room
for the permanent incisors. After 2 years, when the first premolars and
permanent canines are ready to erupt, the orthodontist again checks for
crowding. More teeth are removed if needed. Often the orthodontist chooses
to remove the first premolars.