Kiddie Teeth: To Save or Not to Save

Kiddie Teeth: To Save or Not to Save

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“Doctor just remove my son’s tooth. It keeps hurting at night.” The most common phrase I hear in my daily practice as a pediatric dentist.

With rapid urbanisation, the consumption of refined sugar in various forms has also increased amongst kids. This has resulted in a widespread increase in dental problems of children. Kids as young as two years of age have also been reporting decayed tooth, even before the arrival of all milk teeth in the mouth. Often, the decay is extensive and cannot be treated with a simple filling. In such cases, the dentists recommend a root canal treatment, followed by a cap.

Now, the dilemma sets in. Why spend so much time and money on teeth which will anyway be replaced? And why subject my kid to a painful dental procedure? Removing the decayed tooth sounds like an easy way out. Except that removal is the easy way out which will bear hard consequences.

First, here is a chart depicting the time of arrival and falling of milk teeth:

Arrival Time

          Shedding Time

Front teeth

(Central Incisor)

Upper: 8-12 Months

6-7 Years

Lower: 6-10 Months

6-7 Years

Front teeth present sideways

(Lateral Incisor)

Upper: 9-13 Months

7-8 Years

Lower: 10-16 Months

7-8 Years

Canine

Upper: 16-22 Months

10-12 Years

Lower: 17-23 Months

9-12 Years

Back Teeth

(First Molar)

Upper: 13-19 Months

9-11 Years

Lower: 14-18 Months

9-11 Years

Back teeth

(Second Molar)

Upper: 25-33 Months

10-12 Years

Lower: 23-31 Months

10-12 Years

 

 

 

 

As we can see, on average, a baby tooth stays in the mouth for seven years. Removing these teeth prematurely leads to-

  1. Problems in biting and chewing.
  2. In very young children, loss of teeth affects speech development.
  3. In the space formed by the removal of teeth, the remaining teeth get tilted, distorting the entire line of teeth.
  4. Removal of the tooth is a traumatic experience for kids.
  5. Removal of front teeth affects the child’s appearance. Some children may become aloof or self-conscious because of missing or crooked front teeth.

A natural tooth is more valuable than a diamond. In spite of different treatment options available, sometimes we have to remove a tooth owing to the extent of decay it shows. Prevention of tooth decay is an important step in childcare. A pediatric dentist can give you various simple measures to avoid tooth decay and several options to save a decayed tooth.
These days, with the advent of different pain-free techniques, dentistry is no more a traumatic experience. Kids are regularly treated worldwide with good results. By the time the first tooth appears in the baby’s mouth, an appointment should be made with the pediatric dentist to learn the ways which help in maintaining the oral hygiene of the little one.

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