What if I don’t want to remove my Child’s tooth?
To extract or not to extract? That’s the question!
After all it’s only a milk tooth and will soon be replaced, right? Not so fast! The decision to save or remove a child’s milk tooth is one that must be considered very carefully. Here are some of the factors dentists will consider when deciding to remove the milk tooth.
The age of the child
This is a very important factor in determining whether or not extraction should be considered. Early loss of the baby molars (the back teeth) will usually result into loss of space on the affected jaw especially when the first permanent molars erupt at six years of age. Before the child is ten years old, all effort should be directed at keeping the milk molars intact. This not only means the child’s dental health will be well enhanced but also mitigates the space loss that might otherwise result into malalignment later on when the permanent teeth erupt. Conversely, if the complaint occurs at ten years and above, extraction of the tooth may be done without any significant space loss.
The child’s level of cooperation
Placement of fillings in milk teeth can be a daunting task if not untenable for the dental team if the child is very apprehensive or even uncooperative. While a little persistence usually gets a filling placed, it may still be very difficult to get sustainable results in such difficult circumstances. If the child has not been sedated, the only realistic option where the child has tooth decay but is uncooperative may indeed be to remove the problematic tooth while reinforcing oral hygiene and dietary instruction to prevent loss of the other teeth.
In such a case, you may be advised to consider a space maintainer appliance for your child. This will help to prevent malalignment of the erupting permanent teeth.
The extent of the tooth Decay
If the child is brought in when there is significant tooth decay or if the visit arranged on the account of a swollen cheek (dental abscess) restoration of such a tooth might not be practically achieved at this stage of caries (decay) progression. Again in such a case, extraction of the offending tooth may be the favorable option.
What can be done apart from removing the tooth?
Milk teeth are not inherently as strong as permanent teeth and their decay tends to progress faster. If on assessment the cavity is found to be very deep, the dentist will often advise you to consider a treatment called Pulpotomy. Pulpotomy involves cleaning the tooth at a deeper level to remove the irritated contents of the first half of the nerve (pulp) chamber. Anaesthetic medication will be administered to numb the area around the tooth and the tooth will then be cleaned without discomfort. A filling is then placed on the tooth. This is an alternative to removing the milk tooth whose time hasn’t yet come. Ask our dentists about treatment options for your child’s teeth at your next visit.
By Dr. Samantha Kachwinya (BDS) Dental Surgeon Neptune Dental Clinic Every dentist has faced the dilemma of treating a very anxious and uncooperative child. It is equally frustrating for the parent especially where gentle persuasion seems to have failed. A typical 4...