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Extraction of Baby Teeth

  1. Why extract a baby tooth?
  2. How can extractions aid orthodontic treatment?
  3. Will injured baby teeth have to be extracted?
  4. What are the signs of injury to baby teeth?
  5. Why do decayed baby teeth sometimes need to be extracted?
  6. Can the extraction of baby teeth lead to problems?

 
1. Why extract a baby tooth?

  • Extraction of a baby tooth may prove necessary as part of orthodontic treatment, or because of injury or decay.

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2. How can extractions aid orthodontic treatment?

  • If crowding is likely to occur while baby teeth are being replaced by permanent teeth, then some baby teeth may have to be extracted.
    • These planned extractions should create enough space for the permanent teeth to erupt into and for them to be properly aligned.
    • The extractions may avoid the later need for complicated orthodontic treatment.

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3. Will injured baby teeth have to be extracted?

  • If a baby tooth has been forced into the jaw by a blow or a fall, and has damaged the underlying permanent tooth, the baby tooth will need to be extracted.
  • If an injury causes the death of the nerves and blood vessels of a tooth, it may be necessary to extract the tooth.
    • A pulpotomy may be possible, but if the pulp becomes infected and causes an abscess to develop, extraction is called for.
    • The developing permanent tooth below it may erupt malformed or discoloured.
    • The fate of the permanent tooth is always given priority in such cases.

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4. What are the signs of injury to baby teeth?

  • Bleeding and pain are the main signs of injury.
    • Bleeding is a common sign of injury.
    • The crown of the tooth may be chipped, cracked or completely severed.
    • Pain will vary according to the extent of the damage to the tooth.
      It may be severe if an abscess develops.
      Biting or chewing can also be painful.
    • A tooth loosened by injury and unable to be stabilised may have to be extracted.
      Observation over a few weeks will indicate if the tooth will survive.
      Splinting of the tooth by the dentist will assist stabilisation.
    • Brown to black discolouration may follow the death of the nerves and blood vessels of a tooth.
      This is the result of the breakdown of blood cells and follows the same pattern as that of a bruise to the skin.

See Injury To Baby Teeth

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5. Why do decayed baby teeth sometimes need to be extracted?

  • Extraction is necessary when the decay is so widespread that it cannot be repaired with either a filling or a cap (crown).
  • Extraction of a baby tooth may be unavoidable when the decay has led to infection and the formation of an abscess at the end of the root.
    This infection could be very painful and could affect the growth of the permanent tooth below.

Click to enlarge
Spread of decay
and abscess on root

See Restoration of Baby Teeth

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6. Can the extraction of baby teeth lead to problems?

  • The extraction of baby teeth, especially back teeth, allows adjacent teeth to drift into the empty space.
    • The narrowing of this space may affect the normal eruption of the permanent teeth which will replace them.
    • The movement of the adjacent teeth into the space can result in crowding of the permanent teeth, with the subsequent need to have them straightened.
    • However a space-maintainer can be fitted by the dentist to prevent the drifting of teeth.
  • Always consult your dentist if a baby or child's tooth is injured.

Click to enlarge
Severe crowding
Click to enlarge
Crowding

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