When an infant approaches four to six months of age, parents often await the eruption of their child’s first tooth with excitement. It is considered an important milestone of infancy. A baby’s first set of teeth is called different names in different cultures including deciduous teeth, primary teeth, milk teeth, baby teeth, fall teeth or temporary teeth. Regardless of the title your household gives them, a child’s first teeth play several important roles in the development of your little love.
Perhaps the most obvious use of baby teeth is for biting and chewing. As teeth come into an infant’s mouth, he or she gradually moves from a liquid diet to more and more solid foods. Tastes, colors and textures of food all help a baby to gain knowledge about the world around us.
Also, teeth, both primary and permanent, are important for speaking. As a child grows, teeth are necessary for proper speech development. They also help position the jaw for proper placement as the child grows.
Baby’s first teeth are placeholders for secondary (or permanent) teeth. Teeth begin to come into a baby’s mouth around four to six months of age. The primary teeth are usually all in place by the time a child is three years old. At around six years, children may begin the processes of exfoliation, which is when the baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth. The primary tooth often remains in place until the secondary tooth is ready to emerge. The baby tooth’s roots dissolve, the tooth wiggles and becomes dislodged. A few weeks later the “new” permanent tooth comes up. By age twelve there are usually only permanent teeth remaining in the mouth.
A healthy, bright smile is also important to a child’s healthy self-esteem. This makes it important to keep all teeth clean and healthy. Before an infant has a first tooth erupt, their gums should be wiped clean after feedings to prevent the build-up of bacteria that can cause premature decay. Once teeth come into place, they can be brushed regularly. At about a year of age, a child should visit the dentist for the first time. Fluoride use may be discussed at this first visit. As a child grows it is possible for teeth to become discolored for reasons that are external (staining the surface) or internal (medicines taken as teeth develop). Here, using Austin teeth whitening on your child’s teeth, it is possible to help them regain a bright and beautiful smile.
If a child has a facial trauma involving the teeth or loses a tooth before the permanent tooth is ready due to an accident it is important to seek an emergency dentist. A tooth that has suffered damage to the roots can die and become darkened. Infections in this tooth can cause an abscess treatable with root canal and/or antibiotics. If a tooth is completely dislodged, dental implants or a space maintainer may be inserted by your dentist here in the Austin TX area. A spacer is a small device placed in the gap of the lost tooth by the dentist to ensure a space for the secondary tooth remains. Without a spacer, the permanent tooth may not erupt in its position and may displace other teeth. This can cause difficulty when cleaning the teeth, increase chances of disease and might require orthodontic treatment to be corrected.
No matter the age of the child, help him or her to develop healthy brushing and flossing habits at an early age. Be sure to have your entire family visit your dentist regularly for the brightest smile possible.