A frequently asked question that many parents have is, “Does my child need baby teeth removed?” Baby teeth, or primary teeth, typically fall out on their own. However, from time to time, a child may need to have one or more baby teeth removed. This post outlines the reasons why this is sometimes necessary—and how it may benefit your child’s orthodontic treatment.
Delayed Loss of Primary Teeth
Baby teeth normally fall out in a certain order, by a certain age. If there’s a significant delay in this process, it may interfere with the healthy eruption of permanent teeth. For example, a stubborn primary tooth may cause a permanent tooth to come in crooked or in the wrong position. This can lead to orthodontic problems and/or interfere with your child’s orthodontic treatment.
Keep in mind that every child is different. If your kid’s tooth loss pattern is a year or two behind his or her peers, there may be nothing to worry about. Check with your dentist or an orthodontic specialist like Dr. Dougherty to be sure. In general, once the permanent second molars come in (typically by age 12), any remaining baby teeth will most likely need to be removed.
Other Reasons Your Child May Need Baby Teeth Removed
Besides delayed tooth loss, there are several other instances where the removal of baby teeth may be necessary. An orthodontist like Dr. Dougherty may recommend removal if your child:
- Has a permanent tooth coming in adjacent to a baby tooth that isn’t loose
- Has a permanent tooth that’s erupting poorly, and the removal of a baby tooth would clear a better path for it
- Has an infection, trauma, or other dental problem that requires removal—in which case a spacer may be placed to save room for the corresponding permanent tooth
What About the Removal of Permanent Teeth?
Now that we’ve covered baby teeth removal, you may be wondering, “Is it ever necessary to have permanent teeth removed?” To put it simply, yes. The removal of permanent teeth is sometimes needed to improve orthodontic outcomes. Most commonly, it’s used to help correct:
- Overbite or underbite