We Love Baby Teeth!

We Love Baby Teeth!

If you ever struggled trying to clean your children’s teeth, you probably also wondered “Why bother?  Don’t baby teeth fall out, anyway?”

Yes, baby teeth will eventually be replaced by adult teeth but some baby teeth don’t fall out until a child is 12 years old.  If those teeth develop cavities, they will require fillings.  Leaving those cavities untreated and waiting for those teeth to fall out may result in pain and possibly a dental infection.

An alternative option to fillings is to pull the baby tooth.  However, pulling a baby tooth before the adult tooth underneath is ready to replace it may cause crowding problems.  Once there’s a space in the dental arch, the other teeth will start crowding into that space; leaving little room for the adult tooth that is supposed to be there.

When there is not enough space for the adult teeth in the arch, we start to see problems like crowded teeth, rotated teeth, cross-bites, or an excessive overbite.  

If a baby tooth is prematurely removed, that space left behind has to be maintained by a dental appliance.  We need to keep this space to allow the adult tooth to erupt into proper alignment.  Oftentimes, these appliances make it harder for children to eat and keep their teeth clean.

In some severe cases of cavities in the front teeth, they may even lead to developmental enamel defects in the corresponding adult teeth.  

Developing good oral hygiene habits doesn’t just happen overnight and children most certainly need our guidance in this area.  Helping our children keep their teeth clean and healthy is a gift that will help prevent many dental problems in their future.

Phuong Luu, DDS