Prime Time for Primary Teeth
Your child’s primary teeth are important. While only temporary, healthy baby teeth lead to healthy grown-up teeth. That means that the dental health decisions you make as a parent for your child, from the time their first baby tooth emerges until their very last baby tooth falls out, will have a profound effect on his or her oral and dental health for the rest of their lives. While small and transitory, baby teeth can’t be ignored or neglected. Instead, they must be meticulously cared for as if they will last forever.
What Are “Baby Teeth”?
Baby teeth are your child’s first set of deciduous, or temporary teeth. Contrary to popular belief, baby teeth aren’t created as a child develops. Instead, babies are born with fully-formed baby teeth hidden beneath their gum lines. Also commonly referred to as primary teeth, baby teeth play a critical role in the health and development of adult teeth. The first primary tooth of the twenty teeth hidden below your baby’s gum line typically emerges between 6 to 12 months of age. By the time a child is 3 years old, he or she should have a full set of 20 healthy primary teeth. At around age 6, adult teeth begin to erupt and a child will shed his first deciduous primary tooth. Eventually, all the baby teeth in a child’s mouth will be replaced with properly-erupted permanent teeth that, with proper oral and dental hygiene, will last for the rest of their lives.
“Children who experience tooth loss or have visible signs of decay often have lower self-esteem and self-confidence which can make learning in a classroom setting and socializing with other children difficult.”
— DR. REZA KHAZAIE, DDS. PROSTHODONTIST
What Happens If Baby Teeth Are Neglected
While relatively small and innocuous, the loss of a single baby tooth as a result of decay, trauma, or neglect can have outsized negative consequences. A simple tooth infection can spread and metastasize into something much more serious. Not only can a diseased baby tooth cause your child enormous pain, severe dental decay can spread infectious bacteria into the jaw itself via an infected tooth’s roots. From there, infections can morph into life-threatening septicity of the neck, face, and even brain. Infections that spread into the jaw can also cause irreparable damage to a child’s underlying bone structures which can permanently affect future adult teeth. When a baby tooth is lost as a result of trauma, decay, or disease, and is not replaced, other teeth may migrate into the space. This is known as dental drift and can cause havoc when the adult teeth beneath the baby teeth begin to erupt into spaces they were not intended to emerge in.
Neglecting the health of your child’s primary teeth can have emotional and social consequences as well. Children who experience tooth loss or have visible signs of decay often have lower self-esteem and self-confidence which can make learning in a classroom setting and socializing with other children difficult.
5 Reasons Why Healthy Primary Teeth Matter
1. Healthy Baby Teeth Aid in Proper Nutrition
The ability to bite and chew correctly and efficiently directly affect a child’s ability to get enough nutrients to support their physical, emotional, and intellectual growth. Maintaining healthy baby teeth is important for maintaining healthy nutritional intake.
2. Healthy Baby Teeth Help Children Develop Strong Speech Skills
Healthy teeth help children enunciate and pronounce words correctly during a time in their lives when speech learning is critical. Adequate physical oral structures such as a full set of teeth are essential for effective communication and language learning to occur.
3. Healthy Baby Teeth Build Self-confidence and Self-esteem
Crooked, broken, or incomplete set of teeth can hamper a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. This is particularly true for school-age children who may experience bullying or other traumatic forms of exclusion that can affect their emotional health and development. On the other hand, healthy baby teeth can give them the confidence they need to thrive in a social environment such as the classroom while interacting productively with their peers.
4. Healthy Baby Teeth Guide Healthy Adult Teeth Into Place
Primary teeth serve a very important function as placeholders and guides for the eruption of adult teeth. When baby teeth are lost as a result of neglect, disease, or an unfortunate accident, the eruption of adult teeth can be disrupted leading to malocclusion and other dental disorders.
5. Healthy Baby Teeth Don’t Hurt or Distract
Early childhood is a critical developmental phase in a person’s physical, emotional, and social development. Don’t let dental pain distract your child from learning and living in a way that maximizes their potential. Dental pain, discomfort, and inconveniences associated with poor dental health are impediments that can hamper a child’s growth and distract them from the wonder and beauty of the world ahead.
Take Your Tot to a Pediatric Dentist
Pediatric dentists aren’t just regular dentists. They are specialists who have received years of additional academic and professional training in order to treat children. In fact, licensed pediatric dentists only treat children. To get the best care for your child’s teeth, be sure to go to a trained, licensed, and certified pediatric dentist. No matter the age, the eruption of primary teeth, subsequent loss and eruption of permanent adult teeth can be an uncomfortable process for children. A pediatric dentist can help parents monitor and manage their child’s dental and oral health and development from infancy to adulthood and ensure that healthy baby teeth transition seamlessly to healthy permanent teeth.
Bring Your Kid to Willow Pass Dental Care for a Checkup Today!
Willow Pass Dental Care is dedicated to providing the best pediatric dental care for children. Our dentists will be able to best identify any worrying signs of dental malaise before it gets out of hand, address any pressing dental concerns, and provide you with the care and advice you and your child need to build healthy dental habits.
Looking for a friendly and professional dental office to call home? Look no further than Willow Pass Dental Care. Come and see why we are known as the leading dentist in Concord, CA.
If you would like to schedule an appointment call 925-326-6114 or complete the appointment request below. We look forward to hearing from you.