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  • Dr Vyla Ellis

Why you should worry about your child's baby teeth (even though they're just going to fall o


We are often asked by parents whether treating baby teeth is necessary since baby teeth fall out anyway. This conversation usually comes about when we find a cavity or after a knock to the teeth. Parents are often concerned with how their child with cope with treatment as well as being concerned that their child might received treatment of little value.

Yes, the baby teeth are going to fall out, but maintaining these teeth is important for several reasons.

1. We want to avoid pain.

Cavities grow rapidly in baby teeth and once they reach the nerve will cause a bad toothache. Toothache pain is rated 2nd only to child birth on the pain scale. Seeing a child with a toothache is a terrible day at the office for all involved.

2. The baby teeth guide the adult teeth into position.

If a baby tooth is lost early or has to be removed the other baby teeth will moving into the space which means there is nowhere for the adult tooth to go. This results in the adult teeth coming in as a second row of teeth either on the cheek or tongue side of the teeth. Teeth may come in at funny angles or the adult tooth may never come through. If the adult teeth are in the wrong spot it can cause issues with the bite. Braces may be required and if teeth have not come into position the treatment time for braces can be extended.

3. The teeth are there for eating and speaking.

Kids with multiple missing baby teeth can have issues with normal eating and speaking. Missing baby teeth can also have long term implications for the growth and shape of the face.

4. Instil good habits early for better long term health.

Teaching children to care for their teeth early establishes good daily hygiene habits which are invaluable to good dental health as a teen and adult. Kids who know the importance of good dental care have less dental treatment required as an adult. We know that dental disease contributes to many other health issues. Long term we spend less money at the dentist if we go for regular checkups.

5. Ensure adult teeth develop properly.

A knock to the baby teeth can impact the development of the adult teeth which are forming underneath the gum. After a knock to the baby teeth it is important to have these teeth checked to ensure they are not impinging on the adult teeth and to check for infection which may disrupt the adult teeth development.

We recommend your child has their first dental checkup by age 2. Baby teeth can change and decay quickly. It is important to have children's teeth checked every 6 months.

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