My siblings and I are always told that we have a great set of teeth. When we were children, our parents would make sure they pulled out our deteriorating milk teeth in order to make way for the new ones. Did this contribute to our straight set of teeth or is it simply genetic? I have two young children and would like to know if this will be helpful in their case.
A naturally straight set of teeth mainly has genetics to thank for their pleasing alignment. On occasions, strategic and timely extractions of certain milk teeth can allow better positioning of the erupting adult teeth.
Besides chewing food, the other main function of milk teeth is to maintain a proper space for the adult tooth that will eventually replace it. Barring certain exceptions, milk teeth are best kept until they are ready to exfoliate (drop out by themselves).
If a milk tooth is extracted prematurely (i.e. before the adult tooth is ready to replace it), other teeth may shift and move into the gap left by the extracted milk tooth. This will minimize the space for the adult tooth, causing crowding and misalignment.
Therefore, milk teeth with decay (dental caries) should be filled up, unless they are about to exfoliate soon. Bring your child to the dentist and seek appropriate advice.
Answered by Dr. Sim Tang Eng