As adults, most of us don’t remember when all of our baby teeth fell out. We may remember one or two times the tooth fairy left money under our pillows, or maybe even the frustration of a stubborn tooth that just didn’t want to let go. But the process of losing baby teeth and growing adult teeth in their place is not one or two events—it’s a process that takes 6 to 8 years, and each tooth, whether primary or permanent, plays a special role in a child’s oral function.
If your child needs a dentist, or you would like to learn more about the health and function of your children’s teeth, call our Manhasset, NY dental office at (516) 365-4-KID today to schedule a visit with Dr. Kimmy.
Baby Teeth are Important Too
When a baby tooth is damaged from decay or an accident, the natural course of the secondary tooth development is impacted. Parents often ask me why baby teeth need to be restored, when they’re just going to eventually fall out.
All baby teeth will naturally fall out, but the process is more complex than most people know. It is sequenced and timed by nature to ensure that the permanent teeth will fit together and function properly. If a tooth is extracted by a dentist before your child’s mouth is ready to lose that tooth, it may cause alignment problems in the future; the un-erupted tooth that’s growing in the jaw beneath the baby tooth, may not have enough room to properly develop when the time comes. Often, adjacent teeth shift fill the gap left by the prematurely extracted tooth. Baby teeth come out in a specific order, and on a schedule that provides the best continued use of remaining teeth, for biting and chewing.
As anyone who has ever worn braces can tell you, human teeth are not permanently fixed in the mouth. Teeth can be easily coaxed to shift their placement by external factors, such as orthodontics, thumb-sucking, or the space left behind when a tooth is lost. The root of each tooth ensures that it is solidly anchored in the jaw—otherwise we’d lose teeth every time we bite into an apple. During adult tooth development, primary teeth are slowly pushed upwards and out of the sockets as permanent teeth below them force their way to the surface.
Take Care of Those Baby Teeth
Baby teeth can be damaged by decay or trauma. Toddlers have been known to chew on things they shouldn’t. They also tend to fall down a lot, sometimes landing teeth-first. Tooth decay affects toddlers and children even more commonly than it does adults. Parents who have been careful in maintaining an age-appropriate tooth cleaning routine with their children are sometimes disappointed to see cavities appear. Remember, though, that bacteria (or sugar bugs) are stealthy, persistent criminals, and only 1% of the human population avoid tooth decay in a lifetime.
The best way to prevent tooth decay for baby teeth is to make sure you take your child to a dentist by age one, and preferably shortly after the first tooth erupts. Dr. Kimmy will make sure that development is on track, or addressed, and that cavities are kept at bay. As a pediatric dentist, she cleans plaque from baby teeth, and also provides fluoride treatments and sealants when the time comes. These preventive tactics will give your child extra defense against decay.
If your child has cavities, don’t despair! Dr. Kimmy can restore baby teeth with the same treatments used on adults, such as fillings and baby root canals. When decay sets into the root of a baby tooth, a root canal will allow your child to keep using that tooth until the underlying tooth is ready for action. Furthermore, treating decay in baby teeth keeps the sugar bugs from going deep enough to destroy the health of developing primary teeth.
Though destined to end up in a box or dresser one day, baby teeth are very important to your child’s ability to bite, chew, and speak properly. Don’t let them go before their time!
Come See Dr. Kimmy
If your child has damaged teeth, or if you are ready to start your child’s dental visits for the first time, call our Manhasset, NY dental office at (516) 365-4-KID today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kimmy.Leave a reply →