You may think that if a child’s primary tooth is diseased or defective, it should be removed quickly as that is the most efficient way to deal with. After all, it will drop out anyway to allow the secondary teeth to emerge right? However, dentists agree that this is not the correct way to ensure good adult teeth will follow. The predominant reason to save a baby tooth is that if the tooth is lost or removed too early, this may have an impact on the permanent tooth in the gum underneath, as it may be displaced.
Teeth Are More Than Just For Chewing
Although we use our teeth for chewing, they are also a guide for the second set of teeth to follow. If they are allowed to fall out or are removed before the correct time, then this can interfere not only with a child’s chewing function but can also affect a child’s bite and dental bone growth. In fact, a missing tooth can also affect a child’s speech. Just because a tooth is lost prematurely does not mean the second tooth will emerge any quicker. In fact, your child may need to wait for a long time before the permanent tooth starts to emerge.
Why Save The Primary Tooth?
When a child’s tooth falls out naturally, there is a whole process that the body is following. The tooth does not just become loose and fall out, nor it is pushed out by the permanent teeth underneath. When the child reaches a certain age, the permanent teeth are ready to start emerging. They begin by putting pressure on the root of the baby tooth, and that process allows the roots of the baby tooth to be absorbed into the body. Once this is completed, then the baby tooth is ready to come away.
How Can A Baby Tooth Be Saved?
The treatment required will be different depending on what the issue with the baby tooth is. More commonly today, the decay or infection of a tooth is recognized earlier as people frequent the dentist more often and from an earlier age. This enables the dentist to inspect and spot any changes and treat them before they become a problem. However, sometimes a tooth becomes infected and the dentist has to deal with that as soon as possible. The treatment will depend on how far the infection has progressed. If it is only in the outer layer of the tooth and does not affect the tooth’s core pulp, it may be possible to just remove the decay and treat with an antibacterial agent before filling.
The Decay Is Not Superficial
If the infection has penetrated through to the pulp of the primary tooth, then the dentist will need to remove the infected pulp. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove it all. The area will then be disinfected, cleaned and filled. By saving and filling the tooth, it will allow the body’s natural process to continue, and the primary tooth will remain in situ until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. The dentist will continue to monitor the filled tooth or teeth closely to ensure that there is no deterioration or further infection.
Dr. Alex Rubinov is an experienced child orthodontist and can help your child get the best dental care as they grow. Contact us at (718) 253-0800 for an appointment.