Do you know when your child’s teeth will start to come in, or fall out, or how to properly care for them? A San Diego pediatric dentist explains everything parents need to know about baby teeth.
San Diego, CA – Pediatric dentists often get a host of questions from parents curious about their children’s baby teeth. Dr. Santiago Surillo, a pediatric dentist and orthodontist in San Diego, discusses some of the most commonly asked questions and explains why baby teeth are so important.
When will my child’s baby teeth come in?
When a baby seems to cry a bit more than usual, or drool more than usual, parents may think this is an indication the first tooth is about to pop through. Babies can have their first tooth erupt between the ages of three and nine months, and typically by the age of one will have about six teeth. By three years old, all the baby teeth should be present.
What are the best ways to help alleviate pain from teething?
Teething can be a bit painful, and can lead to a crankier than usual baby. The gums will be sore and tender, and you may notice an increase in drool. Give your teething child something cold to chew on, such as a cool washcloth of rubber teething ring. If your child will let you, gently massage the gums with a clean finger or wet piece of gauze. If your child is older enough to eat solids, offer cold foods such as applesauce to soothe the gums. You can also give your child a small dose of an infant pain reliever if these methods don’t work.
Is there a special order to how the teeth come in?
Yes, there is generally a pattern to how the teeth will come in. The four front teeth, the two upper and the two lower, are the first to erupt. More than likely, one of the lower teeth will pop through first.
Is there a special order to how the baby teeth will be lost?
Again, the answer is yes. The teeth will generally be lost in the same order they came in, so you can expect the front teeth to fall out first. This typically happens around the ages of 6 or 7. By age 12, most children will have lost all of their baby teeth.
If my children’s baby teeth are just going to fall out, why do we need to pay close attention to them?
This is a pretty commonly asked question. The baby teeth might only be temporary, but they are important. A healthy set of baby teeth ensure your child can speak and eat properly, but they also hold the place for the permanent teeth. Infection from decayed primary teeth can actually damage the permanent teeth as they develop below the surface.
When a baby tooth is lost too early and a permanent tooth has already erupted near it, the permanent tooth can drift into the open space. This can then negatively affect how the remaining permanent teeth erupt.
“Many parents don’t realize that their children’s teeth can fall prey to decay as soon as they erupt in the mouth, and sometimes even before,” says Dr. Surillo. “Early childhood caries, or decay, is actually the number one chronic childhood illness affecting children today. Cavities can cause toothaches, pain when trying to eat, and serious toothaches may even prevent your child from focusing in school.”
Your child’s baby teeth may fall out, but they do matter and caring for them is important for fostering positive physical, social and emotional development. Healthy baby teeth will:
- Aid in proper nutrition through effective chewing
- Aid in speech development
- Build self-esteem
- Help your child avoid dental pain, which can cause distractions in school and activities
- Ensure permanent teeth have the proper space in which to erupt
“Baby teeth serve a very important purpose, and shouldn’t be overlooked,” says Dr. Surillo. “If you have questions about how your child’s teeth are erupting or falling out, or how to properly care for them, my office is always willing to answer parent questions.”
About Dr. Santiago Surillo
At SanDiegoKidsDentist.com, you can learn more about Dr. Santiago Surillo and his commitment to achieving the best care in children’s dentistry and orthodontics.
As a dually trained specialist, Dr. Surillo has the unique ability to treat patients throughout their childhood years for all their pediatric dentistry and orthodontic needs. His experience in diagnosing and treating dentofacial problems ensures patients from toddlers to teenagers have beautiful, functional smiles that can last a lifetime.
Few dental specialists go on to become orthodontists, and having a specialist that is dual-trained in both pediatric dentistry and orthodontics is very rare. Dr. Surillo is passionate about helping his young patients, and his experience, compassion, and skill ensure that parents and children alike have a dental practice where they feel comfortable and know they are receiving the best care available.