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My daughter just turned 6, and this morning I noticed that she
has a permanent tooth coming in behind a lower front baby tooth
that's still in place. We recently moved from Berkeley to a
country with a less developed system of dental care. I'd like to
find out what dentists do about this in the U.S. before we take
her to a dentist here, so that I'll know if the dentist's
decision is one I should go with. Does the dentist usually just
pull the baby tooth in this situation, or is it a more involved
process? What kind of anesthetic is used? What sort of aftercare
is necessary? Thanks.
My son has had the same thing happen with his first two permanent
teeth. My dentist's advice was to wiggle the baby tooth in front
to get it to loosen up so the permanent tooth could move into
place. I wiggled it several times a day and after 4 or 5 days
it was really loose and it came out naturally. I tried
to get my son to wiggle it but he was half-hearted about it (he
wasn't that crazy about me doing it either). For the second tooth
my dentist actually saw it before it got loose and said if it
didn't come out in a couple of weeks to bring my son back to see
him. We did the same thing and it came out on it's on as well.
Not a problem
Go see your dentist -- now! The baby tooth should be pulled to
make room for the permanent tooth. Usually the permanent tooth
moves down and cuts the roots to the baby tooth. No blood flow,
it wiggles and wobbles and falls out. When the permanent
tooth ''misses,'' the baby tooth has to be helped out. No biggie,
but the sooner it's out, the sooner the permanent tooth can take
its ''rightful'' place. It's not a big deal to pull it, either.
had two pulled myself
My experience with this is that the dentist usually waits to see
if the new tooth will push the baby tooth out (it usually
does). But I'm sure every case is different - there may be
reasons to pull but if it is not bothering your daughter I would
say leave it alone and wait to see what happens.
I had the same thing when I was your child's age, with both of
my bottom ''eye teeth.'' My dentist pulled them (I didn't feel a
thing, actually, and I remember asking him when he was going to
pull them and he showed them to me!!). I later had braces, but
the teeth weren't disgustingly crooked, just slightly crooked.
This was 25 years ago... so maybe someone else has more current
We just went through this with my 6 1/2 year old daughter. Dr
Iezman who is an excellent orthodontist here in Berkeley,
assured us that this is not uncommon. The baby tooth will
eventually come out on it's own. (This already happened with my
daughter) Then within about 6 months, the adult tooth that was
behind should start repositioning to its appropriate position.
If you don't see any migration forward by the adult tooth by
this time, you should check with an orthodontist or dentist the
next time you are back in the States. Some professionals are
anxious to pull teeth, and rest assured, you do not have to have
My 12yo has 2 permanent molars coming in front of the baby
teeth. His dentist feels that the baby teeth will eventually
come out on their own and since it isn't bothering him there's
no need to take any action at this point.
This happened to my son with his bottom front teeth. We did
nothing. Eventually the baby teeth fell out. I was worried that
the permanent teeth would be too far back but they appear to have
shifted forward on their own. Spare your child the trauma and
steer away from pull-happy dentists is my advice.
this page was last updated: Jan 3, 2009
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