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Should decayed milk teeth be saved or extracted?" is one of the most common questions that dentists get asked in their practice.
Milk teeth, also called primary teeth or deciduous teeth, are replaced by permanent ones by the time children enter their teenage years. This sometimes leads parents to believe that they don’t have to worry too much if one or two primary teeth do need to be removed and thus ignore caries.
The direct co-relation of a child not having many of their teeth or having a large number decayed teeth is that they are unable to eat and drink properly and thus compromise the nutrition they are getting. This will have a direct impact on their growth and development, possibly leading to much more serious and long-lasting damage down the line.
There are a couple of other reasons as well why parents and even dentists sometimes disregard the health of the milk teeth.
Children Are The Most Difficult Patients
Taking young children to any doctor can be challenging, but the dentist provides a whole different level of difficulty to parents. Getting your child to accept dental treatment is probably the only kind of treatment where the co-operation of the child is necessary to carry out the treatment. Simply put, if the child refuses to open his/her mouth, then there is very little that the dentist can do about it.
Parents also worry that the treatment is going to cause a lot of pain to the child and they thus perpetuate the myth about dental treatment being unbearably painful. As a result, when the children finally make it into the dental clinic, the level of apprehension and fear in their minds is so high that they are unwilling to listen to reason most times.
Saving Teeth Is Expensive And Time Consuming
Extracting a tooth may be a little scary to patients, but at least they know it's final. On the other hand, trying to save a tooth through root canal treatment means coming back to the dentist multiple times, facing the child’s tantrums more than once and finally paying much more.
In a lot of countries around the world, dental treatment is still considered to be very expensive and is not a priority. Parents feel that having a decayed milk tooth extracted is just simpler and cheaper.
The answer to the question about saving or extracting a milk tooth should be taken with a number of considerations in mind. In general, though, the dentist and the parents should try and save a tooth if it can be saved. There are a few exceptions to this rule and we will deal with those later.
Here are some reasons why milk teeth are very important for children.
Milk Teeth Guide The Permanent Teeth To Their Proper Position
The number of deciduous teeth in the mouth will total 20 and they will help guide 28 permanent teeth into their proper positions in the mouth. (We have excluded the 4 wisdom teeth since they are no longer considered to be essential to the dentition).