Category Archives: Oral Surgery & Tooth Extractions

Saving vs. Removing Baby Teeth: Saving Baby Teeth

Baby teeth come out earlier on in life and are supposed to last you until the adult teeth are ready to come out and replace them. The front baby teeth last until 6 to 8 years of age while the back ones need to last until 11 to 13. Should one of these baby teeth become infected you can opt to either save or remove it. Saving an infected baby tooth would require a baby root canal, pulpotomy, covered by a pre-made crown. Removing the baby tooth would basically involve pulling the tooth and waiting until the grown up tooth replaces it. Given that the baby teeth are only going to be there for a short time is it really worth saving them? Or is it best to remove a bad baby teeth as it is after all a temporary tooth?

Click here for a chart of baby teeth eruption and exfoliation times

Pros of Saving Baby Teeth

1. Children need their baby teeth to chew and speak properly. Children have only twenty baby teeth in their mouth so losing one can really affect their ability to chew properly. In fact losing a single molar baby tooth can make them lose over half of their chewing ability on that side on their mouth! Children need their baby teeth just like adult need theirs.

  • They need these teeth to chew food.
  • Missing a baby tooth can adversely affect their speech.
  • Losing a baby tooth can negatively impact a child’s confidence during a critical time of development.

2. It can be less painful and traumatic to save rather than to pull the tooth. Removing a baby tooth can be more painful than saving it especially if the tooth is not loose yet. To remove a bad baby tooth your dentist needs to fully numb up the region which will require several shots and can hurt a lot. Even if the tooth gets fully numbed up there is still a lot of pressure being exerted during the extraction which can be frightening to most children. As a result children can become quite traumatized after having a baby tooth removed.

3. Removing baby teeth can result in crooked adult teethA very important role of baby teeth is to preserve the space required for the grown up teeth to come out when they are ready. If you lose baby tooth earlier on then there is a good possibility that your other teeth will collapse into this space. This could prevent the adult tooth from coming out correctly in its respective position and cause crowding of multiple teeth.

  • You need your front baby teeth until around 5-6 years of age.
  • You need your back baby teeth until around 10-11 years of age.

Children who lose their baby teeth are at a much higher risk of needing braces and orthodontic work to correct your bite in the future. Should your child lose a tooth well in advance of the adult tooth coming out talk to your dentist about making them a space maintainer to help hold their teeth in place and possibly avoid the need for braces and orthodontic work in the future.

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Saving vs. Removing Baby Teeth: How to Decide