Baby teeth

Why Baby Teeth Matter

Some might think that since baby teeth come out and are followed by adult teeth that it’s less important to tend and care for them than for the adult teeth. This is not true, and there are numerous reasons to be noted regarding the importance of good baby dental care.

Baby teeth are so cute – from the time a baby starts fussing and you see those little teeth breaking through, people love to watch their progress and count the teeth that have come in. Look at a child’s xrays and you’ll see something amazing – the adult teeth lined up right in the path of the baby teeth.

When a child grows baby teeth, the primary use of those teeth is for chewing - and the adult teeth also need a fighting chance to correctly serve that purpose.

Take it from the Tooth Fairy!

Kids start to shed their baby teeth at around 6 years of age. The first baby teeth to go are usually central incisors – otherwise known as the two front teeth. Children’s oral health is key in making sure the teeth and gums are healthy so that the adult mouth and teeth do well in the future.

As the child’s gums may be sensitive because of new teeth, and just generally little guys and girls don’t always cooperate with tooth care, baby tooth care is emphasized less in the early years. Unfortunately, there are many problems that can develop with baby’s teeth. For example, baby bottle tooth decay is caused when the sugars from liquids like, juice, milk and formula remain on the teeth, resulting in development of bacteria, and later, decay of the tooth.

Gums and teeth can also get infected and affect not only the tooth but the soft gum tissue around it, potentially reaching those waiting adult teeth. Also, a child’s tooth decay will cause pain, which can be a problem for the child, for example trying to concentrate in school.

The Health of Tooth Alignment

Children’s tooth alignment is also dependent on taking good care of the baby teeth. The baby tooth acts as a placeholder for the adult tooth, so if a baby tooth falls out early from decay, the adult tooth loses the “path” and can grow in incorrectly. This can cause painful crowding of teeth later on and can also affect a child’s confidence regarding physical appearance in school and with classmates.

Finding the Best Kids Dentist

The mouth is a sensitive area, and it’s tricky to convince a child that someone looking into his mouth is a good thing. It’s important to find a dentist’s office that is good with kids, patient and kind and understanding. Therapy dogs are seen in more and more places these days, and some dentists’ offices are no exception – therapy dogs can go a long way in making children feel more comfortable (and distracted) in an otherwise medical environment.

New Equipment for Pediatric Dentistry

There is a lot of new equipment that will definitely make children, and therefore their parents, more comfortable, such as the Nomad, a digital x-ray machine that is portable so it can be comfortably used no matter the size of the child or how the child is situated in the dentist’s chair.

Another machine, called a Sopro Life, reduces the need of an x-ray machine, as it consists of is a camera that goes in the mouth and utilizes a light that can detect caries, or cavities. That means the potential for less or no little folded cardboard pieces being put in tender little mouths.

There’s also a dental instrument called the Wand, which can be used to anesthetize a single tooth rather than a larger area – the centralized numbing means that the child will not accidentally bite his lip because he can’t feel it. And another instrument called the Isolite has a special suction so that the examined area will not be contaminated by saliva. The Isolite also helps keep the child’s airway clear during a procedure.

Arguably the best advance in dentistry for kids as well as adults is the Bio-lase, a special laser for pain-free dentistry that can remove a cavity without the use of anesthesia needles or those nightmare-causing grating drill sound and feel, excruciating to adults, and especially to kids.

It is easy to see how baby dental care is so important in the life of your child’s teeth and mouth. These great advances in dental care make it so much easier for a parent to help a child through potentially difficult preventive and proactive care. Finding an Ontario pediatric dentist that can take care of your child’s teeth and oral health in a kind and patient way will help greatly with the imperative need of childrens oral health.


Losing a Baby Tooth too Soon

As parents, we naturally want the very best or our children. And healthy teeth, even if it is just their baby teeth, is no exception.

Generally speaking, children shouldn’t lose their milk teeth before age 4. In most cases, children will naturally lose these teeth between the ages of 6 and 12. In this blog post, we will detail what happens when a child loses their baby teeth early and how it can impact their oral health.

Which Baby Teeth Normally Fall Out First?

Before going over what causes baby teeth to fall out early, let’s get a better understanding of how they fall out under normal circumstances. Before getting their permanent teeth, children will start off with 20 baby teeth, which they will start to develop when they are between 6 and 12 months.

Once a child has reached the age of 5, the roots of their baby teeth will begin to shrink, causing them to naturally loosen and ultimately begin to fall out one by one. This shrinkage is a result of their permanent teeth starting to develop.

Typically, baby teeth will fall out in the same order in which they came in, meaning their lower center incisors will fall out first. From there, they will lose their upper center incisors. This process will continue until they have lost all of their baby teeth. The first permanent teeth that a child develops will be their molars.

What Happens When a Child Loses Their Baby Teeth Prematurely?

To better understand what happens when deciduous teeth fall out prematurely, it helps to know a little more about teeth in general first.

According to the American Dental Association, our first set of teeth are our deciduous teeth, which erupt from the gums at the age of 6 months, enabling us to consume solid foods. They also serve as place holders for our permanent teeth. In short, they are our “starter” teeth.

That said, most children will start to develop their permanent teeth around the age of 6, with their molars being the first to come in. By the time they reach the age of 13, all 28 of their permanent teeth should have emerged, and they should no longer have any baby teeth remaining.

Of course, this is a best-case scenario. As many parents can attest, things do not always go according to plan when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our children.

If a child loses a baby tooth too soon, it can significantly impact their oral health by causing the following problems:

  • Crowding
  • Poor jaw muscle development
  • Poor bone development
  • An incorrect bite
  • Alignment problems

In some cases, these problems may have to be corrected with braces and other orthodontic treatments.

What Can Cause a Child to Lose a Baby Tooth Early?

Much like adults, children can lose teeth due to trauma or severe decay. And also, like adults, children can also develop periodontal disease, which, coincidentally, is the leading cause of tooth loss in America, according to the National Institute of Health.

As far as dental trauma is concerned, it is not uncommon for children to lose their baby teeth while engaging in sports or playing with their friends. Cavities can also cause tooth loss if the tooth becomes severely decayed. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) advises parents to start scheduling regular dental exams for their children by the age of 1. These exams make it possible to detect cavities before they give way to decay.

What Treatments Are Available for a Baby Tooth That Falls Out Too Soon?

If you have noticed that your child has lost one or more of their baby teeth before the age of 4, you should schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist sooner rather than later.

During your child's dental appointment, the dentist will likely take x-rays and examine their oral cavity for signs of periodontal disease and other factors that may have contributed to the tooth falling out prematurely. Provided that there are no signs of infection or other problems, the dentist will likely insert dental space maintainers in the space left behind by the missing tooth.

These devices are designed to ensure that their permanent teeth come in straight and adequately fill the space once occupied by their baby teeth. You should also take your child to a pediatric dentist if they lost a baby tooth prematurely due to trauma as their injuries may also include damaged gum tissue or fractures to the jawbone. An x-ray will reveal the true extent of their injuries and will allow the dentist to recommend the best course of treatment.

Prevention

While it is not always possible to prevent baby teeth from falling out early, there are things that you, as a parent, can do to lower the chances of it happening to your child, some of which include

  • Making sure they wear mouthguards while engaging in sports
  • Making sure they practice good oral hygiene
  • Making sure they brush twice per day
  • Making sure they properly floss in-between teeth
  • Scheduling regular dental exams

Losing baby teeth is a rite of passage as children get older; however, they shouldn't fall out prematurely. The best way to go about preventing this from happening is by implementing some of the tips outlined in this blog and scheduling regular dental appointments for your little one.

While baby teeth will eventually fall out, they shouldn’t fall out prematurely. If this happens, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist.