Why Baby Teeth Are So Important

Does your child have a cavity on one of her primary, or milk teeth?  You may be considering having it taken out.  After all, the tooth’s temporary, right? Well, yes, but it’s not exactly that simple.  Baby teeth play a significant role and are as important as permanent ones.

If a cavity is found on a baby tooth, the location of its permanent replacement should determine whether or not you get it treated or have the tooth extracted.  Our Suffolk County dentist can take an x-ray that shows how severe the cavity is, and the adult tooth underneath.

As a guide, this is what usually occurs:

  • At four months of age: Your baby will start to cut her primary teeth. 
  • Around the age of three: Your child will have all of their “baby” teeth in; twenty in all. 
  • At the age of six: The first permanent tooth should appear.
  • By the age of 13: All the permanent teeth, except the wisdom teeth, should be in place.
  • Starting at 17: The third molars may start to appear.  However, some don’t come in at all.

As you can see, the development of each tooth has its set time and place.  Altering the process with the premature loss of baby teeth has its consequences.

So, why are baby teeth so important?

1.         Space Maintainers

Other teeth naturally begin to close in the gap left behind from an extracted tooth. If the permanent tooth still sits under the gum as it continues to develop, there may not be enough room left for it to come in once it’s ready to. 

2.         Speech and Facial Development

Our teeth, tongue, lips, and cheeks all play a role in helping us pronounce our words correctly. As a child learns to speak and enunciate her sounds, having all her teeth will help to prevent a speech impediment.

Also, teeth, believe it or not, provide support, and help in the development of your growing child’s facial structure.

3.         Trouble Eating

Our front teeth are used to take a bite of food. Our back molars are used to chew.  Removing even one tooth can have a significant impact on the biting and chewing ability your child has.  Being able to properly eat your food is essential for healthy digestion.  In turn, teeth are essential for effective chewing. 

Although they’re temporary, baby teeth are significantly important for your child’s future adult smile.

Hopefully, your child’s baby teeth will last as long as they’re intended.  The best way to ensure this is through good home care.  Practice excellent oral hygiene like brushing, flossing and using an anticavity mouthwash.  Bring your child to see our Long Island dentist for regular checkups to help maintain a healthy smile.

If you do happen to be faced with deciding about how to treat a baby tooth, we can help.  At Sachem Dental we’ve been seeing families in Long Island for over 35 years.  You may have even seen us when you were a child!  Call us today to book your family’s next visit with us.