- April 25, 2016
It’s a question we hear from new parents a lot: how important are my child’s first set of teeth? It’s easy to assume that since they’re only around for a few years that they don’t do that much. Many a parent has found out the hard way that cavities in baby teeth can lead to expensive dental care later on.
At Shorewood Family Dental Care we take care of young patients as soon as they have their first tooth. In that time we’ve helped a lot of parents learn to properly care for their children’s baby teeth, and now we’d like to pass some information on to you!
The Progress Of Baby Teeth
Most children have their first tooth by the time they turn one, if not before. Over the course of the next couple of years they’ll gain the rest of them, allowing them to start eating solid foods and grow into the precocious little balls of energy we all love.
Those baby teeth are sort of like training wheels for their mouths. They help guide jaw formation, the position of adult teeth, and even the shape of their faces once they reach adulthood. Without proper care those baby teeth can end up falling out early and leading to a whole host of oral health problems.
As your child grows into their teeth they’re also an excellent learning tool. By teaching your child to take proper care of their baby teeth you’ll set them up for good habits as they get older. Studies have shown that children whose families emphasize good oral care grow up to be adults that do the exact same!
The Earliest Dental Visits
We like to see young patients starting around the time they get their first teeth for those very reasons. Your child’s earliest appointments may not be thorough cleanings, but they will be excellent measures of your child’s oral health, development, and the future of their dental and orthodontic needs.
We’ll continue seeing your child every six months – just like you – so that we can chart their growth, identify early cavities and gum disease, and keep their teeth clean. As your child ages and starts to lose their baby teeth we can also recommend appropriate orthodontic treatments or other care that may be needed to make their transition to permanent teeth as easy as possible.
What Happens When Baby Teeth Go Bad?
As we mentioned earlier, the temporary nature of baby teeth makes them no less important. They set the stage for a lifetime of dental health and need to be cared for just as well as their permanent set. If baby teeth are neglected a lot of problems can happen as your child grows.
Decayed baby teeth are often lost early, and when they are your child can end up without the proper spaces in their mouth for their adult teeth to grow in properly. Premature tooth loss leads to a shift in the position of the nearby teeth, potentially closing the space that was being held by the missing tooth.
When the reserved space is lost adult teeth can erupt above other teeth, behind them, or can become severely impacted around other teeth. If our child ends up losing a tooth early we’ll probably be sending you to an orthodontist to have a space maintainer placed!
Lost baby teeth can also lead to jaw pain later in life. The change in the position of your child’s baby teeth also affects their permanent ones, so it’s easy for them to end up with a bite that’s not natural for the shape and size of their mouth. When that happens it’s easy to develop TMJ problems that can require serious treatment to resolve.
Pediatric Dental Care Isn’t Optional!
Early dental appointments emphasize a proper attitude toward dental care, help your child learn to care for their teeth, and ensure they grow into a healthy smile later in life. As a parent you have a lot of power over the future of your child’s oral health, so be sure you’re helping them develop into adults with great smiles!
If you ever have questions about your children’s oral health or anything you need to do to help them succeed in dentistry you can contact our Shorewood office by calling 815-768-1615. We love helping our patient families grow into good dental health!