Most parents have questions around baby tooth extractions, whether or not their child should have baby teeth removed. Most baby teeth (primary or “milk” teeth) fall out on their own. There are times however when having them removed by your dentist is not only necessary, but beneficial. Conversely, there are times when you should not have baby teeth removed.
There are normally 20 baby teeth by the time a child reaches age 3. The chart shows approximate timelines when primary teeth fall out and permanent teeth comes in. These are merely averages however. Some kids lose teeth faster than this. Others lose them slower.
Baby tooth extraction may be indicated due to a bad toothache, severe decay or infection, trauma or some disturbances in the growth pattern or normal shedding schedule of the tooth. Sometimes the decision to remove a tooth may be not due to a problem with the tooth itself, but the fact that its removal is beneficial to the surrounding teeth; such is the case when a stubborn primary tooth keeps the permanent tooth from coming in properly. Additionally, an orthodontist may want tooth to be removed to accelerate the start of orthodontic treatment. Though the general goal is to try to preserve the baby teeth, some factors make it impossible or less beneficial to do so. Your dentist should be the one to give you treatment options and help you make the best decision.