Recently my son, who is in Kindergarten, started to lose his baby teeth. Several other students in his class have still not lost a tooth, so their parents started to ask at what age should they expect their children to lose baby teeth. Below is a chart for eruption and shedding of baby (primary) teeth.
- from Stacy B. (Dental Assistant)
Baby teeth are also known as primary dentition. Eruption of these teeth can start anywhere between four and 15 months of age. The eruption pattern is usually symmetrical starting with the lower central teeth followed by the upper central teeth. Sometimes the anticipated sequence is not followed but is not a cause for concern. Children may have tender or swollen gums when teething but diarrhea, rash or fever are not "normal" symptoms. Offering the child something hard and cold to chew on may ease the discomfort. A few examples are refrigerated teething rings, a frozen banana, and/or a clean wet cool washcloth. Usually by the age of three there are 20 teeth which is also a full primary dentition. Development will differ from child to child, but if ever there is a question we would love to see you and your little one at Commerce Drive Dental! We offer full cleanings and exams, and it is never too early to start a life-long habit for a healthy mouth.
- from Tessa H. (Dental Assistant)
This is a common question asked by parents, since these teeth are going to fall out anyway. However, if a cavity is left untreated, it will continue to decay deeper into the tooth. This can cause the tooth to break or the nerve to become infected, causing a painful toothache. At that point, the tooth would need either a pulpotomy (kiddie root canal) or to be extracted.
One function of primary dentition (or baby teeth) is to hold the space for permanent teeth. Children do not lose their last primary teeth until around age 12. If a primary tooth is lost too soon, the adjacent teeth can shift into the space before the permanent tooth is able to erupt. For example, the first and second permanent molars erupt behind the primary molars around ages 6 and 12. If the primary molars are lost too soon, these permanent molars may shift forward into the space where the permanent pre-molars need to erupt. To prevent this, a “space maintainer” can be fabricated and cemented in place until the teeth begin to erupt.
In conclusion, the answer is yes! Removing decay and placing a simple filling can prevent your child from needing more invasive and expensive treatment later on. Keeping the primary teeth in place until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt is important to help the permanent teeth erupt into the correct position.
- from Caitlin Z. (Dental Assistant)
Commerce Drive Dental team members all contribute to this blog, including our dentists, assistants, hygienists, and business team personnel.