Baby Teeth and Tooth Extractions
The Importance of Baby Teeth
It is a common misconception that the baby teeth are not important. After all, they are only temporary and are eventually replaced by adult teeth. However, the baby teeth play several important roles in the mouth of your child.
Why Might a Baby Tooth Need to Be Extracted?
When baby teeth are damaged or have suffered decay getting treatment right away is important. In most cases, these issues can be corrected with a filling or a crown. However, if the damage is too severe, restorations can compromise the health and integrity of the affected tooth and can put it at risk for further damage or infection. In these cases, extraction is the best course of action. Common reasons a baby tooth needs to be extracted include:
Extracting a Baby Tooth
Baby teeth can be extracted in one of two ways. A simple extraction is a straightforward extraction that is done under local anesthetic. If your child is feeling anxious or frightened, we can also provide sedation to help them remain calm and to extract the tooth safely. The affected tooth is moved back and forth, which widens the socket so that we can lift the tooth free.
A surgical extraction is performed when the situation is more complicated. The procedure is done under a local anesthetic and sedation. In some cases, general anesthesia may be necessary. Small incisions are made in the gums, and the tooth is completely removed. Once the area has been cleaned, sutures are placed.
What Happens After an Extraction?
The baby teeth are important for holding space in the jaw for the developing adult teeth. If the baby tooth is extracted before the adult tooth is ready to erupt, a space maintainer may be used. This device is designed to hold the space in the jaw so that the adult tooth can come in properly. If the baby tooth is extracted close to the time when the adult tooth is ready to erupt, we may not have to do anything following the extraction.
While saving baby teeth is always the preferred option, keeping them in place until they are ready to fall out on their own, this is not always possible. Severely damaged or decayed teeth may need to be extracted. For more information, call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today at (503) 663-8141.