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1201 SE 223rd Ave. Suite 240
Gresham, OR 97030
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(503) 663-8141
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Are Baby Teeth Really That Important to My Child

Child Smiling with First Teeth at his visit to Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry
Baby teeth, also called primary or deciduous teeth, are only temporarily in the mouth of your child. The first baby teeth begin showing up around the age of 6 months and are an exciting milestone for parents. By the time your child reaches 2 to 3 years of age, they will have developed all 20 baby teeth. Around the age of 6, the baby teeth begin to fall out and are replaced by the adult teeth. Many parents often believe that because the baby teeth are only temporary, they are not very important. The truth, however, is that the baby teeth are quite important, and Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry can help to provide them with the care they need to stay healthy while they remain in the mouth.

Functions of the Baby Teeth

The baby teeth, while temporary, are quite important, and perform some essential tasks for your child.
•  They provide your child with a beautiful smile, which can help to instill confidence.
•  They allow your child to bite and chew.
•  They aid in proper digestion and nutrition.
•  They help your child to develop proper speech.
•  They act as placeholders. The baby teeth hold spaces in your jaw for the developing adult teeth under the gums and enable the adult teeth to erupt into proper alignment.

What Causes Baby Teeth to Fall Out Early?

Typically, the baby teeth begin to fall out around the age of 6. However, there are some instances in which they can fall out early. Common causes of premature tooth loss include:
•  Significant tooth decay or cavities.
•  Facial trauma. Trauma as a result of a fall or a sports injury can cause a tooth to fall out.
•  Severe damage. Damage is treated with a crown, but if the damage is extensive, the tooth may need to be extracted.
•  An abscess. If bacteria from an infection in the gums get inside the tooth, it can lead to the need for an extraction.
•  Medical or congenital defects.

Effects of Losing Baby Teeth Too Soon

The baby teeth need to stay in the jaw until they are ready to be replaced by the adult teeth. If they fall out too early, they can have several significant impacts. One of the biggest effects of premature tooth loss is that the surrounding baby teeth can begin to shift out of their natural alignment. This not only throws off the bite, but it can also affect the development of the adult teeth. Misaligned baby teeth can block the eruption of the adult tooth under the empty space, which can lead to alignment issues with their adult teeth. Alignment issues can significantly increase the risk for your child to develop cavities and gum disease.

What Can Be Done in the Event of Premature Tooth Loss?

In some cases, if the adult tooth is close to erupting, we may not have to do anything. In many cases, however, if it will be a while before the adult tooth is ready to emerge, a space maintainer is placed. This oral device is temporary, and it may be fixed or removable. It is designed to hold the space that the baby tooth once occupied and prevent the surrounding baby teeth from shifting out of alignment.

If you have any questions or concerns about baby teeth, how to help care for them, or if they are affected by issues such as decay or trauma, call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today at (503) 663-8141.
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Location 1201 SE 223rd Ave.
Gresham, OR 97030



(503) 663-8141


(503) 666-6787




8 am–5 pm


Limited Fridays
Douglas L. Park DDS Pediatric Dentistry | | (503) 663-8141
1201 SE 223rd Ave. Suite 240, Gresham, OR 97030