Why Do We Have Baby Teeth

baby smiling showing teeth

Have you ever wondered why we have baby teeth? Some people might be tempted to think baby teeth don’t matter since we lose them eventually, but our starter set of teeth, known as milk teeth or “deciduous” teeth, are actually very important.

Purpose of Baby Teeth

Since humans are mammals, we are born with twenty primary teeth already in our jaw. Teething begins between six and twelve months of age, and by age three, children usually have their full compliment of baby teeth. Although you can’t see it, permanent teeth are forming within the jaw while children’s baby teeth are in use.

A child’s jaw is simply too small to hold the number and size of permanent adult teeth that they will eventually have. (What a nightmare that would be if they were. Giving birth would be nearly impossible!) After the child’s skull has developed and grown, usually by the age of about nine to eleven, their jaw is large enough to hold up to thirty-two permanent adult teeth.

Essentially, baby teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth and serve as a guide for where they should grow in. When a child loses a baby tooth early due to decay, space for the permanent tooth is lost too. This can lead to dental crowding when the adult teeth come in. Not only that, but baby teeth help kids speak and chew properly, too.

Cavities in Baby Teeth

Even though we lose our baby teeth, they can still get cavities so it’s important to bring your children for pediatric dental visits. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a newborn should see a dentist as soon as their teeth begin to appear. Usually these are just “well-baby checkups” that allow your dentist to examine the child’s mouth for decay or other problems. These are also a great opportunity to ask the team at Farmington Dental & Orthodontics about how to clean or brush your child’s teeth until they can take over the task themselves. Dr. Trogdon is very comfortable working with children as young as six months old.

Family Block Appointments

We know how tough it can be getting the whole family to all of their appointments in their busy over-scheduled lives! To help lessen the stress of that, we offer family block scheduling, which allows all the members of your family to have their appointments back-to-back or at the same time. This lets you to meet everyone’s dental appointment needs in one trip!

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