Primary teeth, also known as “baby teeth” or “deciduous teeth,” or “milk teeth”, begin to erupt approximately six months to one year after birth. Typically, preschool children have a complete set of 20 baby teeth. While the front baby teeth will be shed for permanent adult teeth between 6-8years of age, but the back teeth (canines and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-12.
Frequently in pediatric dental practice we find parents ignorant about the primary tooth, its function and importance. They often question the necessity of treatment to save and maintain the milk tooth in function since primary teeth will eventually shed.
Maintaining healthy primary teeth is essential to a child’s overall oral and general development. The primary teeth are important in a child’s life as they help in mastication/chewing, in speech & pronunciation, contribute to aesthetics and preserve the integrity of the dental arches, finally guiding permanent teeth into their correct positions. Primary teeth hold the place open for permanent teeth, so that when your child’s adult teeth begin to push through the gum line there is a place ready for them, and the chances of crowded or overlapping teeth and improper eruption are minimized. Your child’s baby teeth also help in the proper growth of jaws.
Untreated carious/decayed teeth in young children frequently lead to pain and infection, necessitating emergency visits to the dentist. Carious teeth in early childhood are not only indicative of future dental problems, they also adversely affect growth and cognitive development by interfering with nutrition, sleep and concentration at school. In addition, they may have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life.If left untreated, primary teeth can drop out completely – causing health and spacing problems for emerging permanent teeth.
Thus there is no logical reason for leaving primary teeth decayed and untreated in a child’s mouth. Early recognition and timely referral of infants and young children with dental caries is critical in preventing the unpleasant complications.So taking care of your child’s SMILE starts right NOW!