One of the most common questions we get from parents is whether or not their child should have baby teeth removed. Most baby teeth, also referred to as primary or “milk” teeth, fall out by themselves. There are situations, however, when having them removed by our South Gate children’s dentist is not only necessary, but helpful. There are some general guidelines to help parents understand when removing baby teeth is appropriate. Although there will always be variations from the norm, there are definitely patterns that most children follow as they lose their primary teeth. At your child’s first examination at Children’s Dental Group, an inventory is taken of how many baby and permanent teeth they have. If they have more than they should for their age, we have a list of possible causes, including crowding, an overall developmental delay, or missing or impacted permanent teeth. X-rays are always taken before our South Gate children’s dentist proceeds.
If the loss of baby teeth is slow but in the proper sequence, we don’t usually worry until your child is two years behind. If baby teeth remain too long they can negatively affect the eruption path of the underlying permanent teeth. For instance, if a lower baby tooth is still in place at age 10 or 11, when it’s normally lost at 9, it isn’t too worrisome, but should be removed by age 12. However, if there are still baby teeth remaining once the permanent second molars erupt, those baby teeth need to go. Besides falling behind schedule, there are other orthodontic reasons for removing baby teeth. A clear one is when a permanent tooth starts to come in next to a baby one that isn’t loose. Removing the baby teeth in these situations are necessary but it, unfortunately, does not correct the crowding that created the problem.
There are times when our South Gate children’s dentist must remove baby teeth due to infection or trauma. In these cases, it’s important that the space be maintained until the underlying permanent teeth are in their proper place. If a “space maintainer” is not placed immediately and the adjacent teeth shift, the eruption of your child’s corresponding permanent teeth may be affected, or even prevented. Every child is special and unique and the decision whether or not to have baby teeth removed is one that you and our South Gate children’s dentist will have to make together.