Primary teeth play a vital role in your child’s oral health and development. Here are a few of the ways in which baby teeth help your child:
- Facilitating speech production and development
- Facilitating proper jaw growth
- Aiding in good chewing habits, digestion and nutrition
- Holding the place for permanent teeth and facilitating proper spacing and alignment
- Boosting self-confidence from having a healthy smile
If baby teeth fall out too early, our pediatric dentist can provide a space maintainer or other oral appliance to help keep the space open and allow the permanent tooth to erupt more easily in the future. If this space is not held, the surrounding teeth may become misaligned, leading to incorrect tooth eruption, greater risk of cavities, and a misaligned bite and increased need for orthodontic treatment in the future.
The first primary teeth erupt between the ages of 6 months and 1 year. By age 3, most children have all 20 primary teeth. Children typically lose their baby teeth in the same order that the teeth erupted, beginning with their front teeth and moving back towards their molars. Baby teeth will typically start to fall around age 6 or 7, with the permanent teeth coming in between ages 6 and 12. After all the primary teeth have been replaced, children usually grow four additional permanent molars between ages 12 and 14. Wisdom teeth come in last and usually need to be removed. By age 21, the average person has 32 permanent teeth, 16 in the upper jaw and 16 in the lower jaw.