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Extracting my 19 mo's 4 front teeth?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
Hello. Forgive me if this is off - it is my first post anywhere, ever. I am the blessed mother of 2 little boys (19 mos and 4 yrs) who WISHES she had found these boards 4 years ago! In any case, here is my dilemma that I ask any and all willing to post to offer advice on. As so many seem to have experienced, my beautiful 19 mo old Simon has enough decay on his top front four teeth (frequent night nursing on demand, slacking on the hygene, bad genes - who knows?) that our only two options are to go under general anesthesia for 2 or 3 hours to have "baby root canals" to try to fix the teeth, or to have the four teeth simply removed. If we extract the teeth, it should take about 5 minutes, and the sedation wouldn't be quite as intense - a mask over the face we were told. If we do the general anesthesia, they may get in there and discover that the teeth can't be saved and pull them anyway.

I am very very hesitant to put him under GA, and am leaning towards simply removing the teeth. My question to those of you out there who have experienced a similar situation, is how has your child reacted to having no front teeth? It seems like such an aweful early age to have no front teeth. Also, has it effected speech development or eating? My Simon is hardly eating as is (he still prefers boobs to anything else, and we've been working to get him to eat ANYTHING). So, I worry that having all front teeth gone may stop him from eating completely. On the other hand, we have a pretty natual approach to our lives, and I can't can't can't accept putting him under GA for his baby teeth! I'm sorry if I've rambled, but I'm just in need of some words of wisdom from some who have been there.

Thanks and love.
-- zoe
post #2 of 52
Hi Zoe,

You must feel so sad that you're having to deal with this at this early age. I think you should go ahead and have the teeth pulled. Kids are so adaptable, I don't think there will be any speech or eating problems. I know there is an aesthetic factor there, and maybe you feel like me that there is kind of a sense of loss that your little one isn't "perfect" or "fully intact" anymore, but the permanents will come in eventually!

My DD is a little snaggletooth at 2. She lost a front tooth in an accident w/the dishwasher at only 10mos, had 2 fillings for caries that shortened 2 other teeth at 20mos, and is about to go back in a couple weeks for more fillings (or crowns or extractions). Her teeth get brushed 2x/day, but she does nurse at night and gets bad teeth genes from my side of the family. Anyway, I haven't noticed (and I've been listening for it) any speech problems. She has adapted her eating by biting from the right side.

From what I have read, I think genetics is the biggest factor in caries at such a young age, especially in the front teeth. So don't let them try to tell you you need to wean!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I said, I'm sure little Si will adapt just fine. Best wishes!!

P.S. LOVE your little guy's name!! (If you know anything about my user name, you'll know why!!)
post #3 of 52
Hi there

Just wanted to suggest maybe seeing an ND or holistic dentist and see what they have to say, it sounds pretty drastic to me and they might have some other suggestions or point you in the right direction. I am not sure where you are located but there are holistic dentists out there. Sorry I can't be of more help but thats what i would do in your situation.

Hope it all works out.
post #4 of 52
Zoe, I'm so sorry that you and Simon are going through all this. It's so hard. I hope that you've found some help in the dental archives here at Mothering.

My opinion is that at his age, you should try to save the teeth if at all possible. There are speech deficits that research shows are not regained even after he gets his permanent teeth. And for the front ones, that won't be until he's at least five or six. An advantage, as I'm sure you've already been told, is that it all gets done in one fell swoop, and you have a clean slate to start with. And with all the knowledge here, you shouldn't have to go through this ever again. Not a small thing when you think of subjecting such a young child to multiple dental appointments. Older ones you can talk with, but 19 months is so little.

Another option that you might consider is that if you have the teeth extracted, make what's called a "kiddie partial". It is a plastic thingie that has all four front teeth on it, and it is not removable. It cements to the back teeth, though, and I don't know if Simon even has those yet. This alleviates the speech issues, aids in his eating/digestion, and eliminates the social issues as well. You can PM Malamamama (or do a search on her username here), she did this with her dd and they are both doing fantastic now. I think she was about Simon's age, too.

Blessings to you, mama.
post #5 of 52
Pulling the teeth are the "Immediate" cheap and quick option. It does not cover the cost of speech therapy later. Nor does it cover painful orthodontics later.

If you do your research you will find that baby teeth are important. If they have to be removed than a baby partial should be put in place. They would also need to be maintain because the mouth does grow.

I would do the “baby root canals” and/or partials.


Baby teeth usually stay in place until permanent teeth push them out and take their place. Baby teeth are sometimes lost too early because of an accident or disease. If a child loses a baby tooth too early, the nearby baby teeth may tilt, drift, or move up or down to fill the gap. This is because teeth try to take-up any space available to them. When this happens, the nearby baby teeth fill the space intended for the permanent tooth. The permanent tooth can come in crowded or crooked. This can result in problems with the eruption of other permanent teeth and consequently, the occlusion (bite). If left untreated, extensive and expensive orthodontic treatment(braces) and/or even surgery may be needed.

I would agree that genetics and other things had more of a part in his dental issues than night nursing. (Your dentist might not have this information). http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/tooth-decay.html

I know GA is scary but this can be a real health issue. Taking what seems easiest can be harder in the long run. My niece had bottle rot (she was going to be with chocolate milk in a bottle at 3 years of age). My poor niece has had to have a lot of other work. Some she might not ever give because my sister isn’t rich and doesn’t see the importance.
post #6 of 52
Mama, you can definitely check out the details of my dd's dental journey in my posts from May 2003 onward.
She had decay on her top four front teeth at about 15 months. At 18 months, I too was terrified of GA. We moved and finally found a dentist who would work with her with an oral sedative in his office just after she turned 2. By then, she was in need of 4 caps on her top four front teeth. Five months later, the two front ones absessed. This is when I made the decision to extract. I was fearful of an oral infection spreading and the dentist we had recommended extraction and a partial. We had to wait from May till December for her 2nd year molars to come in enough to attach the brackets. By then she was 3 years old. It was no problem for her, hard for me to see her beautiful toothless smile tho. Her speech was affected, not so noticable until after she got her partial in place. Then I realized how much crisper her enunciation became. She is now 4 1/2, and doing fine.

In retrospect, I still don't know if I would have opted for GA, but I would have hoped to find these boards much sooner than I did, because here I learned how to properly care for dd's teeth, how to slow the decay, and how different each dentist's approach and treatment can be.

Do you have the option of a second opinion? Are you on a different approach with hygeine now? This could bide you some time while you decide. PM me if you need.....
post #7 of 52
You are such a blessing, Malamamama.

post #8 of 52
Has anyone else thought of doing this for their little ones? It sounds better than having GA done. I am wondering why I have just heard of this.

Malamamama, what did the dental visits consist of? LIke how long it took, any important info about the partial?

This sounds a lot more "doable" with a little one rather than getting crowns on the top 4 teeth, I would love to hear more!!
post #9 of 52
My ds just before christmas had all 4 top teeth removed. I didnt want him going under GA so I decided to have them pulled rather than trying to fix them. Since they were all 4 abcessed and ds's lip and gums were very swollen.

The dentist used lidocain only and it was over in 5min. Ds is so much happier now since his teeth were broken off to the gum. I am glad I waited as long as possible rather than having him put under. I didnt want them capped because I have read here that about half of all caps fall off very soon after they are put on and there are other complications as well.

I was given the option of getting a partial but the dentist said it was cosmetic only and really didnt see the need for him to have one, so I am not doing it right now. Maybe when he is a bit older and only then if it bothers him his teeth are missing.

My only regret is that I waited to long to have them pulled. All 4 got infected and he had to go on abx because of the danger of the infection spreading. I was terrified of GA to the point I felt deep inside ds wouldnt make it if he was put under. So I dept putting the work off. If I had them pulled even a month before I did he wouldnt have been in pain but I cant go back and change that.

He is still going to have to be put under later because all 4 molars have small cavaties and the only ped. dentist within a hour drive of here will only do the work under GA. I dont have the saem fear any more about GA altho it still scares me to death. Right now tho we are waiting on insurance to get straightened out. It is going to cost almost 1,000 at this point out of pocket
post #10 of 52
I was curious how old your son is and was when he had his teeth pulled.

I am also curious what changed your mind about GA. You sounded as worried as I am about the kids not making it after being put under. I read here on the boards ( i have been reading back into the archives) about a dentist who said she was there when a little girl was put under and stopped breathing permanently.

It is just so frustrating to me that so many dentist and even so called "pediatric" dentists don't want to deal with and take the time with the little ones so would rather risk their lives to make their jobs easier.
post #11 of 52
Just wanted to put my 2 cents in since my son had his four front pulled just before he turned three. Most importantly check out what Weston Price has to say about tooth decay. Cod liver oil and organic raw cows milk stopped my son's decay in its tracks when NOTHING else worked. Second, he has no speech problems at this point and I am not worried that anything serious will develop in that area, in fact people often comment at how well he speaks, even people who don't know his teeth are missing-you can't see them unless he smiles VERY big. Lastly, there is not really any danger of the the other teeth moving in to fill in the gap because the eye teeth on top are the ones that hold the spaces, anything behind that and you will need spacers.
Kids adapt really well, and before you know it the adult teeth will be creeping in. Good luck. Oh...I am in Vermont too, where are you?
post #12 of 52
My son is missing his front four teeth. They came in with no enamel and while we began following Weston Price's diet, adding in CLO and high vitamin butter, there was just no strengthening those teeth...he would fall and they would chip further.

He has had his teeth removed for almost a year and he talks coherently and clearly...moreso than other children his age with all their teeth. He even eats corn on the cob!

We went through a lot trying to save those front four teeth, and it was all in vain. I do not believe there is any lasting devastating effects to getting those teeth pulled a few years earlier than what they would have fallen out anyway. That is, of course, my and our dentist's opinion and our experience.
post #13 of 52
Thanks for the good info!! I was worried about the effects pertaining to his speech. I was also worried about his new teeth coming in to the right place.

After reading back into some posts, I really got to considering having them pulled. Right now they are not needing to come out, but if we wanted to have them crowned, it would be better to get something done sooner.

Personally, I am thinking I would rather not have the GA done. I have been TERRIFIED at that prospect and was trying to delay that as long as possible. Of course I will feel really horrible if his teeth do not grow in correctly, but it sounds like you guys are seeing any trouble.

Do you know anyone else who had the teeth pulled and how thier teeth grew in later? I don't want to give him more trouble and with permanent teeth.

I am soaking all that I can in from all the info I read to try to do the best thing, boy, this is tough!
post #14 of 52
Oh! Chele, I am from Missouri!! Thanks so much for your 2 cents. It was far more valuable to me!! I am wondering why dentists may not be recommending pulling the teeth rather than putting them thru potential life loss thru GA.

If there are some major consequences such as teeth displacement, I can understand a little more, but it seems that the short time space wouldn't be that significant. Anyway, I am way more comfortable with the idea of him not having those teeth than losing him due to cosmetic reasons. To be honest, I would rather even deal with braces later on if need be.

Anyhow, I could ramble on an on, but again, Thanks!!
post #15 of 52
The front four teeth will not be affected with spacing. The eye teeth hold the place. Any other teeth would need a spacer.

I have to give anyone else dealing with dental trauma a hug...it has been the most taxing thing I've dealt with since having kids.
post #16 of 52
So far I agree with you!! Nothing has been this hard or scary yet. That sounds great about the eye teeth. Maybe I have finally found the answer for us. Wait and take care of the teeth the best we can while they are good enough and then when something needs to be done, we could pull.

He is 3 months from being 3, so I think we might have the advantage of him being older now for any other work that might need to be done in the future. This of course is in theory.

Thanks so much for the info!
post #17 of 52

My son lost one of his front teeth at 23 months. He fell on the cement front steps. We had a terrible time, since the dentist told us we would for sure have to stop nursing in order to save the tooth. My baby wasn't about to give up his milkie that easily. I researched and found that we could still nurse, but dh was dead set the dentist knew best. He was so angry that I continued to nurse and we had a terrible few days until he calmed down. After 2 weeks of trying to save the tooth, ds fell (minor trip), but he hit that loose tooth and it had to be removed.

He also busted his lower lip so badly that his lip is permanently enlarged due to cartelege. Does this ever go away? My boy doesn't miss a beat w/o that tooth. Another boy in his gymnastics class lost a front tooth about a month ago. He is 2 years old.

It's a relief to know other children go through this and are fine. I still
post #18 of 52
I've never heard of cartlidge in the lower lip, but my first guess would be that it's a mucocele, aka a busted saliva gland. My newborn headbonked me a number of times really hard and I had a large bump show up, and then stay, on my lower lip. My understanding is that they don't go away. They're no big deal, but I had to have mine removed because it was annoying, and because there is a risk of infection. Good luck.
post #19 of 52
There are several reasons why having GA done now dosnt scare me #1 it is a deep gut feeling I cant explain it any better than that #2 he is older and weighs more that helps with the outcome.

He was 26months when they pulled the teeth.
post #20 of 52
Originally Posted by MCatLvrMoMof2 View Post
There are several reasons why having GA done now dosnt scare me #1 it is a deep gut feeling I cant explain it any better than that #2 he is older and weighs more that helps with the outcome.
If his cavities are small, there is so much you can do to remineralize them and fix them! And to change the environment in his mouth which is allowing decay! I think you can avoid GA!
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