Abscess or Infection
The recommended treatment for an infected or abscessed primary tooth is usually the removal of the tooth. If left alone an abscess or infected tooth can cause serious problems. It can affect the formation of the developing permanent tooth or the infection can even spread to nearby critical soft tissues such as the facial muscles, the airway, or even the brain.
Sometimes it is best for the alignment of the permanent teeth to have primary teeth taken out early. This is done to maintain midlines of anterior teeth, correct the eruption path of permanent teeth, or create more space for the alignment of already erupted anterior permanent teeth. If indicated, well-timed orthodontic extractions can improve aesthetics in the short term and sometimes shorten orthodontic treatment in the long term.
Lastly, the surprisingly common shark tooth. Parents are often surprised to see the erupting permanent tooth coming in behind or to the side of the primary tooth, yet this is very common (especially with lower incisors). With “shark teeth”, the best treatment is usually to encourage the child to wiggle the over-retained baby tooth out on their own. However, we can help if the permanent tooth is coming in and the primary tooth is not becoming increasingly mobile.