Are Baby Teeth Really That Important to My Child
Functions of the Baby Teeth
The baby teeth, while temporary, are quite important, and perform some essential tasks for your child.
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:
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.