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Baby Teeth
Why treat baby teeth? Can't my dentist just pull them?
It's important to keep baby teeth as long as possible. Besides providing chewing ability during childhood, baby teeth help a child learn to speak. They also guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions. Remember, too, that kids are often embarrassed by how they look after their teeth are pulled.

Since they never had my baby teeth treated, my parents think I'm crazy because I want to get my child's baby teeth treated.
Well, you're not crazy! Early treatment of baby teeth helps prevent many more (and bigger) problems such as cavities, abscesses, and loss of space between teeth.

Why is my child the only one in her class who hasn't lost a tooth?
While there really is very little need for concern (what is considered the "normal" period for losing teeth varies with each child), you should ask your dentist to look at your daughter's baby teeth to make sure that they are not blocking the growth of permanent teeth and that all of her permanent teeth are developing normally.

My child's teeth are very crowded. Can't we just pull some baby teeth to make room for the permanent ones?
Removing baby teeth isn't always the answer, although crowding may occasionally be relieved by extracting permanent teeth. Crowding can occur because the permanent teeth, not the baby teeth, are too big for the available space in the jawbone. Extracting baby teeth can create problems that are more difficult to correct later. Talk to your dentist about other options. See the earlier question, "Why treat baby teeth? Can't my dentist just pull them?"

My child's new tooth is coming in behind her baby tooth. Is this normal?
Yes, this is fairly normal. To make sure that there isn't any abnormal crowding, which can sometimes be corrected by extracting the baby tooth, have your child's dentist evaluate the situation.

We can't afford pulpotomies (removal of the upper part of the pulp) on baby teeth. Can't they just be pulled?
Extraction may be a smart and less expensive choice if your child's new permanent teeth will be coming in very soon. A space maintainer can keep the remaining teeth straight until a permanent tooth appears. However, a pulpotomy leaves the tooth in the child's mouth to help them chew, maintains their appearance and also helps keep the remaining teeth straight.
Make sure you explore all of your options with your dentist. To address your concerns about the cost of treatment, most dentists will gladly discuss payment plans for dental services. Also, note that many cities have clinics that provide low-cost dental services. If you're fortunate enough to be in a city with a dental school, contact the school to learn about having your child treated by professionally-monitored dental students.


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