I have a ten-year-old who has an adult tooth coming in but the baby tooth doesn’t seem to want to budge. I can see the adult tooth coming in a bit in front of the baby tooth. Do I just leave it or do I need to have the baby tooth pulled? If it has to be pulled, how painful is that? I grew up terrified of the dentist because of a painful experience and I don’t want the same thing for my son.
I can tell you care about your son a great deal and are trying to do the best for him all around. You are wise to recognize that bad experiences at the dentist can permanently taint how someone visualizes getting their teeth cared for. This is one of the reasons we ask parents to start bringing their children to the dentist early. Too many parents wait until there is an obvious problem with a child’s tooth. Then, their first experience with the dentist is a painful dental emergency. For the remainder of their lives, they will associate the dentist with pain.
As for your son’s tooth, once the adult tooth is starting to poke out in a different direction, it is time to have the baby tooth extracted. Without that, your son’s adult teeth will come in misaligned and then you’ll be paying for orthodontics down the line.
Extracting baby teeth is significantly simpler than it is for adult teeth because adult teeth have a much more well-built root system.
However, if you’re worried about him having a bad experience, some nitrous oxide will help relax him. Most pediatric dentists will also put a numbing gel on the gum before giving the shot. Those two things together should help. I can’t guarantee that there will be a pain-free shot. Much of that depends on the skill of the dentist who is giving the shot. Some dentists have a knack for giving shots children never even notice. Others are terrible at it.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.