Why are baby teeth so important?
Primary (or baby) teeth are important because they aid in proper chewing and eating, help in speech development, and add to an attractive appearance. A child who can chew easily, speak clearly and smile confidently is a happier child. Healthy primary teeth allow normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. They also save space for the permanent teeth by guiding them into position. While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, permanent teeth may come in crooked. Decayed baby teeth can also cause pain and infection, which can damage the permanent teeth.
At Dental Works on Cornwall, we are committed to teaching children how to care for their teeth in a warm and welcoming environment. Although our general philosphopy is to provide treatment without sedation, we understand that many children become anxious in the dental office and cannot relax or sit still long enough for the dentist to treat them. Sedation Dentistry allows calming effects that allow both examination and corrective work to be accomplished more easily. At Dental Works on Cornwall, we offer various forms of sedation including nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral sedation.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first hair-cut. This will be a new experience, but it will not be the frightening experience you may remember from your youth. If you are nervous about the trip, then the less you say the better. You cannot hide your anxiety from a child because they can sense and feed off your emotions.
You can tell your child that the dentist will gently count and brush their teeth. Reassure your child that visiting the dentist is fun. You can also read one of several Children’s books about going to the dentist.
At what age can I expect my child’s baby or adult teeth to come in?
Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt through the gums are the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors. Although all 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and order of their eruption varies.
This chart tells you when baby teeth come in (or erupt) in most children.
At age six or seven, the first adult (or permanent) teeth come in. They are known as the “first molars,” or the “six-year molars.” They come in at the back of the mouth, behind the last baby (or primary) teeth. They do not replace any primary teeth.
Also at around age six, children start to lose their primary teeth. The roots slowly get weak, and the tooth falls out. Children lose primary teeth until they are about 12 years old.
It’s okay for children to wiggle their primary teeth if they are loose. But it’s not okay to use force to pull out a tooth that’s not ready to come out. When a tooth comes out at the right time, there will be very little bleeding.
This chart tells you when permanent teeth come in (or erupt) in most children.