It happens in every family eventually: the oldest child suffers at least a mild panic attack when he realizes that his teeth are literally falling out of his head! With a little reassurance from mom and dad, the crisis eventually passes and the five- or six-year-old might even end up with some money under his pillow when it’s all said and done. The transition from baby teeth to adult teeth is obviously a huge topic in family dentistry in Raleigh, NC, and it’s very important for your family to have a dentist that you trust helping to monitor that transition. It’s not uncommon for children to experience difficulty with their adult teeth growing in abnormally, but if your Raleigh dentist catches the problem as early as possible, he can help guide the process in the right direction with minimal disruption to normal life.
Taking a step back, however, there’s a question that crosses most parents’ minds at some point during the transition: why do we go through this strange process anyway? Why do we have to lose our first set of teeth and grow a brand new one? And why don’t we keep growing new teeth throughout the rest of our lives? Here’s a bit of the science behind our amazing teeth. Spoiler alert: the tooth fairy is not involved.
Teeth Don’t Change
The basic fact that drives the loss of our baby teeth to make way for a new set is this: teeth don’t change. Once they grow in, they don’t get any larger, they don’t repair themselves if they get broken, and they don’t adapt to accommodate any changes in the rest of your body. Between the appearance of his first baby teeth and his seventh birthday (more or less; it’s obviously different for everyone!), your child’s body changes a lot. One of the less visible changes is the growth of the jawbone, where his teeth are grounded. As that jawbone gets bigger and stronger, the baby teeth rooted in it do not expand to match it. Instead, the body sprouts new, more heavy-duty teeth to replace them.
The period of life during which the adult teeth grow in and the baby teeth fall out is a critical time for monitoring by your Raleigh dentist. As the baby teeth on top and the adult teeth coming up from below come into contact with each other, there is the possibility that the adult teeth will get pushed out of alignment and remain there permanently. Another common problem, however, occurs when a baby tooth has had to be pulled early, perhaps due to an infection or injury. Without the original tooth in place, the adult teeth may not grow in normally. In family dentistry in Raleigh, NC, your dentist may install a space maintainer to fill the gap between baby teeth to guide the upcoming adult teeth into the correct position.
Why Care for Baby Teeth?
While it’s true that baby teeth don’t need to last you for a lifetime, it’s still very important to give them careful maintenance. One reason is that baby teeth are a valuable “practice” opportunity for your child, as he develops good oral hygiene habits that he will continue throughout his life. More importantly, however, if baby teeth are neglected and allowed to develop infections, those infections can quickly spread to the gums and cause long-lasting consequences. Baby teeth are extremely valuable tools for a child’s health, even if they are destined to disappear under his pillow and magically turn into money someday. We must help our kids learn to brush, floss, and take care of their teeth as early as possible to ensure that they enjoy a lifetime of good oral health and a beautiful smile.
Family Dentistry in Raleigh, NC
We would consider it a great honor to be your source for friendly family dentistry in Raleigh, NC. Dr. Eric Ladimer and the entire team at New Hope Dental Care love having the chance to visit with kids, show them how to care for their teeth, and guide them through the exciting but sometimes scary transition to their brand new set of teeth. Make your appointment with us today !