5 Reasons to Leave a Loose Baby Tooth Alone
Losing teeth is a natural and sometimes exciting part of childhood, and parents can guide their children through this natural process in a number of ways. Children love the idea of the tooth fairy, for instance. But just because a baby tooth is loose, that doesn’t mean you need to help it on its way. Sometimes, intervening when a tooth is loose can have a detrimental effect.
From about the age of five or six, adult (secondary) teeth begin to replace baby (primary) teeth. When these teeth are ready to come out, a little help is beneficial. But if you forcibly remove a baby tooth too early, you could harm your child’s dental development.
Here are five important reasons not to remove your child’s loose tooth unless you are sure it is ready to come out.
1. Gum Tissue Is Very Sensitive
If you pull your child’s tooth too early, you might use so much force that you damage the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. Gum tissue is very sensitive. If you damage it then, you might cause an infection to occur. You could also damage the gum tissue so badly that your child will need gum surgery to help the gum tissue heal.
2. Premature Removal Can Be Painful
Pain is an indication that your child’s tooth is not yet ready to come out. Baby teeth have small roots. When it’s time for a secondary tooth to come through, the root of the baby tooth will begin to dissolve. This is why baby teeth start to loosen. But it takes time for the root to dissolve fully. If the root is still mostly intact, your child will feel pain if they move the tooth.
No pain or barely any pain is a good indicator that a baby tooth is ready to come out.
3. Primary Teeth Guide the Secondary Teeth
Baby teeth serve as roadmaps for the incoming permanent teeth. The permanent teeth push up against the roots of the baby teeth and cause the roots to dissolve before they then move into position. But if you remove a baby tooth too early, the secondary teeth lose their guide. As a result, they could erupt crookedly or in the wrong location.
This problem could lead to the need for orthodontic treatment later on.
4. Secondary Teeth Need Time to Develop Fully
If a baby tooth falls out on its own, its permanent replacement is probably fully developed and ready to erupt. But if you help a baby tooth come out too early, the permanent replacement might not yet be ready to erupt. In other words, the permanent tooth may still be undergoing some development in the jawbone. This will leave a space for a few weeks or months.
When a space is present in a child’s developing jaw, the adjacent teeth could drift into that space. This happens because teeth naturally drift forward, and because a child’s jaw grows constantly until their late teens. If that happens, the permanent tooth could erupt in the wrong location.
5. Missing Teeth Can Affect Speech Development
Speech development is also a crucial part of growing up. When children lose teeth, they struggle to pronounce certain letters and words clearly. This affects them socially and educationally. Fortunately, permanent teeth soon replace lost baby teeth.
But if you remove a baby tooth too early, the permanent replacement will take longer to come through. Unfortunately, this means your child will struggle with their speech development as you await the permanent tooth’s arrival.
If you are concerned about your child’s baby teeth and their development, you need the help of a pediatric dentist. Here at Kids Choice Dental and All About Kids Dental, we specialize in pediatric dentistry and can perform a digital X-ray to check the teeth development. Call today.