When Should Baby Teeth be Extracted?
- Too Much Decay
- Injury to the Baby Tooth
- Crowding or “Shark Teeth”
Normally, baby teeth erupt, they give your child an adorably toothy grin until early grade school, then begin to fall out to make room for adult teeth. Unfortunately, there are instances where the dentist needs to remove baby teeth before they’re ready to come out on their own. Here are the most common reasons why your dentist may recommend having your child’s baby tooth extracted.
#1 Too Much Decay
One of the most common reasons for baby tooth extraction is decay. Children are more susceptible to cavities because baby teeth have a thinner layer of protective enamel than adult teeth.
If the decay in a baby tooth is too significant to repair with a filling, your dentist may opt to extract it. Removing the baby tooth will alleviate any pain your child may be experiencing. It will also help prevent bacteria from spreading to nearby baby teeth and developing adult teeth.
Until your child has the appropriate strength and coordination, it’s important to assist him or her in toothbrushing. Make sure to help your child brush twice a day and floss daily to keep decay away. Regular cleanings and check-ups are also essential for maintaining your child’s oral health.
For further reading: How to Help Your Children Care for Their Teeth
#2 Injury to the Baby Tooth
Another reason baby teeth might need to be extracted is because of injury. If your family’s outing to a local sledding hill led to a tooth disaster, you’re not alone: an estimated thirty to forty percent of children experience trauma to their teeth at one point or another.
If the tooth has merely been rotated or pushed up, it’s likely that your dentist will take x-rays and monitor the tooth for further problems. However, if the tooth has been knocked out of place, your dentist may be unable to be realign it safely. In that circumstance, extraction is usually done. Depending on the placement of the incoming adult tooth, a space maintainer may be placed to maintain the position of the surrounding teeth.
#3 Crowding or “Shark Teeth”
As any parent braving a Madison winter knows: children must put on snow gear in the right order for things to work. Snow pants have to go on before the boots, snow bibs get pulled on before a jacket, and jackets need to be zipped before the gloves go on. Whew!
Just like with snow gear, when teeth follow the proper eruption and shredding schedule, there are no problems. Adult teeth as they come up through the gums usually dissolve the roots of the baby teeth. Baby teeth then fall out to make room for the adult teeth.
Sometimes, however, baby teeth do not fall out before the adult teeth erupt. This can result in a double row of teeth, sometimes referred to as shark teeth. If the child is not in pain and the baby tooth is wiggly, often it can be left alone until the baby tooth comes out on its own.
Baby teeth that remain stubbornly in place can cause the erupting adult teeth to twist, turn, and become crowded as they come in. So if it’s been over two months and the baby tooth shows no sign of movement, it might be necessary for the dentist to extract the baby tooth to make room for the adult tooth. The adult tooth should drift into the open space on its own due to the natural pressure from the tongue.
For further reading: Does My Child Need Orthodontics?
Pediatric Dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin
If you are wondering if your child needs a baby tooth extracted, please call our offices today for an appointment. Affiliated Dentists offers pediatric dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin.
When Should Baby Teeth be Extracted? brought to you by Dr. Mark Gustavson