When baby tooth extraction is needed and how to prepare the child for it

Baby tooth extraction
Baby teeth, also called deciduous teeth, are the first teeth to appear in the mouth. The fact that they are temporary does not mean that they are worthless. Conversely, these teeth play a crucial role in the development of the child's jaws, maintaining space for the permanent teeth. and learning oral functions including speech, chewing, swallowing.
Unfortunately, these teeth are very fragile compared to adult teeth and are therefore more susceptible to decay and trauma (almost 30% of temporary teeth get injured), which requires their extraction.

Find out in this article when baby teeth extraction is necessary, and when it is not, and how to prepare the child for the procedure.

When baby tooth extraction is needed?

Baby teeth are much more fragile and susceptible to injury. It is because the tissues that form the temporary tooth are not mature, and the child is less aware of the importance of oral hygiene.

The priority is to keep the baby teeth and give them the necessary treatment, but sometimes the extraction is needed.
Situations that require the extraction of deciduous teeth include:

Deep cavity

Baby tooth decay is very common (more than 530 million children experience cavities).

Extraction of decayed baby teeth should be in the following cases:
  • When the tooth is necrotic (the tooth is no longer alive) and the x-ray shows that the permanent tooth eruption is approaching;
  • When the decay has destroyed the entire crown;
  • When the cavity has caused an infection such as an abscess.


Nearly 30% to 50% of children under six years old experience trauma. The conservation of the traumatized tooth depends on the intensity of the shock and the damage it has caused, Especially:
  • When it is impossible to restore the damaged tooth;
  • When infectious complications have occurred after the trauma;
  • When there is a risk to the developing permanent tooth.

Orthodontic treatment

In most cases, permanent teeth line up with other teeth. But sometimes problems can occur that prevent the teeth from being positioned.

Among these problems:
  • If the decidual tooth has not fallen out, blocking the way for the permanent tooth. By extracting the temporary tooth, we will free up space for the permanent tooth to line up with other teeth.
  • If the permanent tooth decides to change its course before coming out and replacing another tooth. The most frequent sign is the deviation of the permanent upper canine accompanied by a delay in the fall of the temporary canines concerned.

Find below the dates of permanent teeth eruption. A delay of one year is considered abnormal and can lead to teeth crowding.

the eruption date of permanent teeth

When not to extract baby teeth?

Dentists and orthodontists always seek to preserve baby teeth as long as possible until their falling date.

The causes of baby teeth extraction mentioned above are not absolute. Your dentist will prefer to keep your child's temporary teeth if:
  • It is possible to treat the decayed or traumatized temporary tooth;
  • Keeping the temporary tooth is safe for the permanent tooth;
  • The root of the temporary tooth has not begun to resorb, your dentist will consider endodontic or conservative treatment to keep the tooth;
  • Presence of acute inflammation (such as cellulitis) will force your dentist to suspend the extraction for another session for fear of worsening the inflammation.

Baby teeth extraction procedure

Although the extraction of temporary teeth is an easy and short procedure, it remains a source of anxiety for most children. So, before starting, it is better to explain to your child what is going to happen. It will help you to inform and prepare him/her.

preparing the child before the extraction

Some ideas to prepare the visit

A few simple actions can help your child understand the dentist's instructions or anticipate certain sensations:
  • Play practice breathing through the nose while keeping the mouth open.
  • Learning to spit out a liquid
  • Taste a bitter food
  • Look at his teeth with a mirror.

First of all, a clinical and radiological examination is performed to evaluate the available space, the position of the baby and permanent tooth, and to see if a cyst or abscess exists to decide whether it is necessary to extract the baby tooth.

Temporary teeth extraction is carried out under local anesthesia. It is done by one or more injections into the gum. If your child is afraid of the injections, it is preferable not to use the word when explaining, to avoid reinforcing his fear.
If the child asks about how to get the product into the gum, we should tell him the truth, as the goal is to gain the child's trust. To avoid discomfort during the injection, your dentist may first use an anesthetic gel.

After anesthesia, the temporary tooth is extracted with small instruments. The child should not feel anything since the area is anesthetized, but if the child is in pain, we should stop.
Once the extraction is completed, the child is asked to bite on a compress to stop the bleeding.

If multiple baby teeth extractions are planned, the simplest one will be carried out first to give the child the confidence for the next session.

The effects of premature baby teeth extraction on the child

Extracting baby teeth before they fall out naturally can have many effects on the child.

The premature extraction of one or more temporary molars causes a loss of space and thus promotes or aggravates the permanent teeth crowding. The space maintainer is therefore imperative after any extraction of a temporary molar before its natural fall.

Aesthetics play a predominant role in today's society. It contributes to the psychological construction of the individual and this from an early age. The early loss of baby teeth, especially front teeth, can influence a child's self-image. It is, therefore, crucial to support and reassure the child that it is temporary and that the gap will be replaced soon by newer teeth.

The premature loss of temporary teeth can also impact a child's functional development. Front teeth are involved in swallowing food and speaking. Their loss will likely interfere with these functions.
As for the posterior teeth, they allow the child to chew food well. The loss of these teeth can bother him, but he must know that it is temporary.

Aftercare and healing

One of the best ways to help your child recover from a painful tooth extraction is to follow your dentist's instructions. For example, your dentist may restrict feeding during the first day, and prescribe pain-relieving medication.

Here are some tips that can help your child after an extraction:
  • Ice Packs - icing the outside of the jaw helps reduce inflammation and pain throughout the healing process.
  • Salt Water Mouthwash - It is advisable to make saltwater mouthwashes after meals. It will speed up healing and keep the wound clean. You can help your child to brush his teeth as soon as possible, avoiding the surgical site.
  • Diet - During the first day, your child should eat only liquid or semi-liquid, lukewarm, or cold foods and avoid hot food or drinks.

The sensitivity of the tooth from the extraction subsides within a few days. If not, make an appointment with your dentist to examine the wound and check for infection. And finally, do everything you can to encourage your child to keep their mouths clean.

Orthodontic follow-up is necessary after the extraction: in fact, a space maintainer will be placed until the new tooth grows. The child will then continue to be followed by the orthodontist while all the permanent teeth come out.