Tag Archives: tooth extractions in children

Is a Pediatric Dentist or General Dentist Better for a Special Needs Teen?


I recently became a foster parent to a teen with special needs. He just wants to be treated like everyone else, so I’m not sure which dentist to take him to. he’s not a child, so he may balk at a pediatric dentist, but I think they may be more patient with him. I’m worried he may be nervous if I take him to a general dentist’s office, and the staff may not be used to treating patients like him.

Which should I go to? Any advice?

Elizabeth, from Raleigh, NC


Hi Elizabeth,

Your worries are valid and echo a lot of concerns shared by parents of special needs children and teens.

Either dentist will be able to accommodate your teen. A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has had additional post-graduate education pertaining specifically to children’s oral needs. Be sure to check your prospective dentist’s credentials, and feel free to call the dentist’s office with questions. Most pediatric dental offices will treat toddlers or young children in addition to teens. Dr. Peck in Phoenix, AZ has dental tips for parents on her website for what parents can expect for children at the dentist.

However, you should involve him in the decision-making process. Ask him where he would like to go, and check websites together. To make him feel more comfortable, see if you can schedule a walk-through of the office prior to your appointment, so he knows what to expect. If you have a dentist’s appointment coming up, invite him along to show him its no big deal. Little things like these can make a big difference when it comes to your child’s treatment.

This blog post is brought to you by Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry.

What Can I Do About My Son’s Broken Baby Teeth?


Our family dentist is recommending an extraction for two of my son’s back teeth. She found that some of his back teeth have broken from decay and have cavities. However, he is only 7 and still has his baby teeth. Isn’t he too young for extractions? What should I do?

Thank you,

Noel, from Charleston, South Carolina


Hi Noel,

Yes, your family dentist is correct – your son does need these teeth extracted. If these teeth are not removed, the decay can spread down to your son’s jaw and cause more problems down the line. If your son had his adult teeth, a root canal would be an option, but it’s not available for baby teeth.

When certain baby teeth are extracted, a space maintainer can be placed in your child’s mouth. Space maintainers are placeholders, and will prevent your son’s molars from growing in sideways.

If you dentist did not recommend these to you, you should seek a second opinion from a pediatric dentist. Dentists with additional training and experience in treating children would be your best option.

For more information on how to prepare your son for his upcoming appointment, you can check Dr. Peck’s dental tips for parents page.

This blog post is brought to you by Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry. Please note that pediatric dentistry is not a specialty recognized by the ADA, but Dr. Peck is comfortable and experienced in treating the needs of children.


Should my child be seen for a painful loose tooth?

My elementary-aged son seems to be getting ready to lose his first tooth. He recently had his dental check-up with her pediatric dentist and we were told everything appeared good and normal. However, lately he has been complaining that it feels like one of his front two teeth is getting bigger. Then, he recently bit down on a carrot and immediately started to cry. There was blood and the tooth appeared to be out of place. I thought this might all be due to the tooth preparing to fall out, but am starting to second-guess myself. Is this normal? Should I have her seen?

Thank you,

Dear Bethany,

Each tooth that is lost fights of small battle in the process which leads to it falling out. First, the permanent, adult tooth pushes the baby tooth up. This may be what is causing him to feel like his tooth is increasing in size. Next, the ligaments, which help the tooth stay in place, start to expand and strain, like small rubber bands. At times, they tighten back to their original state, white other times, they stay stretched and snap. It is quite possible the tooth was in fact loose and the ligaments were already stretched. Then, when he bit into the carrot, the bite forced the tooth out of alignment and caused some of the ligaments to snap. In this situation, popsicles are great, as well as avoiding hard foods. The tissue around the tooth was likely traumatized, but it’s unlikely any long-term issues or serious damage were caused to the adult tooth coming in. If your son is not in any pain now, and the area seems to be healing on its own, it’s not crucial that he be seen. However, if you are not certain, or will feel better doing so, seeing a pediatric dentist would be a good idea. In a rare situation, additional damage could be causes, which could require dental intervention. But, it sounds like stocking up on soft foods and popsicles is a good idea…and prepare for a visit from the Tooth Fairy!

This post is sponsored by the office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Should I see a pediatric dentist for my child’s loose tooth?

My elementary school-aged son has had loose front-teeth for a couple of months now. He complains that they hurt and give her trouble when he eats and applies pressure on them from his tongue. When I look at them, I can see them moving around and that they are very loose, so I can tell they are ready to come out. However, he will not let me near him in order to extract them myself, nor will he pull them out himself. I know a pediatric dentist could remedy the issue quickly and easily but am not sure this is something for which they see patients? I know they will pull teeth that need to be pulled, but will they remove a tooth that is basically hanging by a thread?


Dear Dan,

The ligaments which hold a tooth in place are just like a rubber band. They will stretch out but then tighten back up, causing the process of losing a baby tooth to be quite a process. It appears that your son could be experiencing this to some extent, which could be why it is taking the tooth longer to fall out on its own than you might be used to.

It’s generally a good idea to let baby teeth do their thing until they fall out naturally. Attempting to pull a baby tooth prematurely not only hurts the child but can cause unnecessary trauma to the area. The baby tooth also helps keep the space open for the adult tooth to come in.

If the tooth is bothering your child, seeing a pediatric dentist would not be a bad idea. He or she can assess the situation and ensure nothing out of the ordinary is happening or causing the delay. If the dentist determines that the baby tooth will not come out on its own, he or she may suggest extraction as a solution. But, if you think your son will oppose a dentist, as he does when you try to touch the tooth, it may be better to wait it out and let nature take its course.

This content is brought to you by office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Does a child’s molar HAVE to be removed?

My son has an infected molar.  The dentist is recommending it be extracted. Is that necessary before they even try a treatment?

Olivia M. – Massachusetts


Adult tooth infections can often be treated with a root canal.  children’s teeth can sometimes be treated with a similar procedure called a pulpotomoy. However, with molars this never works.  If the tooth is infected it will have to be extracted.

Make sure your pediatric dentist also places a space maintainer where the tooth was.  It will be many years until his adult molar comes in.  You don’t want his teeth tipping or shifting into that place.  It will cause crowding and other orthodonitic problems later on.

You also don’t want to leave the infection.  It will spread and cause other serious problems.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.


Teeth extraction in babies

My 17 month old needs two front teeth extracted. Is this normal?

A concerned mom

I can understand your concern. It is not unknown for toddlers to have tooth decay. However, generally there are some common factors involved. One is a family history of decay and two is being allowed to feed throughout the night.

A seventeen month old is able to sleep through the night without bottle or breastfeeding. Though, if they are not used to that it will take some training. In the meantime, whenever you feed your baby at night, make sure you don’t let him or her sleep with a bottle or sleep while breastfeeding.

When that happens, the liquid stays on their teeth. Our saliva production is down at night, so there isn’t as much protection for their teeth.

Also, make sure as soon as that first tooth is erupted you need to begin formal dental hygiene, both at home and in a year or so with a dentist. When they’re young it is best to see a pediatric dentist who enjoys treating children so they’ll have a positive first experience.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.