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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Kids

Pulling of baby teeth in cleft lip and palate



In a child who has had cleft lip and palate, baby teeth have been loose for a very long time...throwing the adult tooth off track. Would it be better to pull the baby tooth once it has been loose for a long time so that the adult has a chance to come in the right spot? Or is it better to let the adult come in where it may and pull the baby tooth later?


Thanks for the question. It is critical in a patient with cleft lip/palate that the extractions be timed through a team approach of a pediatric dentist/orthodontist/oral & maxillofacial surgeon. In some cases, removing a tooth too soon can delay eruption of the successor. Likewise, sometimes an over-retained tooth can deflect the permanent tooth into an incorrect position. This decision will be made through examination, x-rays and formulation of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Hope that helps.

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Response by:

Sarath  Thikkurissy, DDS, MS Sarath Thikkurissy, DDS, MS
Director, Residency Program, Division of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati