Baby teeth are also referred to as the deciduous or primary teeth. Although deciduous teeth eventually exfoliate, they do play a very important role in development. Healthy deciduous teeth are important for:
- Ideally deciduous teeth should be there until they are ready to come out naturally as a major role of theirs is to maintain space and guide the adult teeth into the correct position. Losing teeth early because of decay and toothache can result in crowding of adult teeth.
Good Oral hygiene
- Cavities in any tooth can create havoc. Cavities in deciduous teeth can be even more detrimental as deciduous teeth are naturally less resistant to decay compared to adult teeth.
Eating, diet and nutrition
- Having healthy deciduous teeth allow good chewing habits, allowing children to eat uninhibited.
Predicting when a deciduous tooth will exfoliate is difficult; and when a baby tooth exfoliates too early or remains for too long it can be concerning. Below is a guide for when we can expect deciduous teeth to be replaced by adult teeth.
The most important aspect to remember is that this is simply a guide to when teeth should be erupting or exfoliating as there is a large amount of variation for when a tooth will exfoliate in any one child. What is more important is the order in which teeth exfoliate, as incorrect order of deciduous teeth falling out can sometimes mean that an adult tooth is missing.
Things to remember
- Teeth falling out of order is more of a concern than teeth that have naturally fallen out early or remained longer than anticipated.
- Missing adult teeth is a genetic trait.
- Generally, early diagnosis of baby teeth will allow and wider choice of treatment options
The most worthwhile advice in regard to any dental issue, and especially with deciduous teeth is timely advice. For this reason, examinations and regular reviews of childrens’ teeth at the dentist can ensure future problems can be spotted and avoided whilst the kids can keep a smile before, during and after their visit to the dentist.
Dr Sang Ho