A Gummy Adventure — The Pains and Joys of Growing and Losing Baby Teeth

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Little boy wearing black bib, sitting in dentist chair, showing thumb up. Well equipped dentist office. Concept of pediatric stomatology, dentistry and dental care.

The days, weeks, and months of teething can be highly emotional and tiring for an infant and parents alike. There might be a lot of crying and sleepless nights as the baby’s first teeth gradually break through their swollen gums. If you’re looking for a great dental professional to help you through these trying times, you can’t go wrong with the pediatric dentist at Millennium Dental, who can give you the right advice and treatment.

Primary teeth are also known as milk, baby, or deciduous teeth. They begin to develop while the baby is still in the womb.

At about five weeks, the first buds of deciduous teeth appear in the baby’s jaws. Normally, on the day they are born, babies already have a set of ten teeth in the upper jaw and ten in the lower jaw, nestled in the gums. Baby teeth are tiny and more white than adult teeth. They have wavy edges that smooth out over time with wear and tear. Deciduous teeth tend to sprout in parallel pairs and hold the space for the permanent ones, which are still developing.

Be Patient During Teething

Try to be patient and understanding when the teeth first come in. An eruption cyst could surface. This is a blue-grey bubble where the tooth is about to break through. The cyst should heal without treatment. The gums will be incredibly sore and tender, and since babies can’t tell you how they feel at this age, a natural response could be frustration, tears, and a good amount of screaming.

Your little one might put their fingers in their mouth to calm the irritation. Try to keep their hands as clean as possible to avoid infection or contamination. Do your best to make your child as comfortable as possible. To provide some relief, you can gently rub your baby’s gums using a finger, a small spoon, or even a wet gauze pad. A sterilized teething ring to chew on can be soothing. If your child still appears cranky and in pain, consult your dentist or physician for the best course of care.

Children’s teeth are at higher risk of decay because of the thinner, softer enamel (outer layer) compared to adult teeth. That’s why you should practice regular hygiene. As soon as the first tooth appears, you should start brushing. Regular dental check-ups will also keep the mouth healthy and problem-free.

Types of Teeth

Here’s a list of all the types of teeth to help you navigate your child’s dental care better:

  • Incisors — These are the front teeth situated in the lower and upper jaws. They are flat with a thin edge. These teeth act like scissors that can cut, tear, and bite the food.
  • Canines — The fang-like teeth on both sides of the upper and lower-jaw incisors; used to tear apart food and for speaking.
  • Premolars — The biting teeth with flat surfaces used to crush food.
  • Molars — These are the teeth at the back of the mouth, which are larger than premolars, with broad, flat surfaces used for grinding food.

When Do Baby Teeth Come In?

The primary teeth usually begin to emerge between six and 12 months. The gums will appear red and inflamed where the teeth are piercing through. Typically, the lower incisors (lower front teeth) are the first to erupt from the gums. Next are the upper central incisors. Then, the upper and lower lateral incisors start emerging.

The upper first molars pop out at around 13 to 19 months, followed by the first lower molars. Now, your baby can chew. Next, you can expect the upper and lower canines (called the dog teeth because of their sharp, protruding shape.) At about two years old, the second upper and lower molars will begin to fill in the gaps.

By the age of three, most children will have grown a set of 20 teeth and a beaming baby smile. The facial bones and jaw will continue to develop and make room for permanent teeth until about the age of six.

At What Age Do Kids Lose Teeth?

About six years later, those little milk teeth you cared so much for will eventually fall out. This can happen in any order, but they tend to drop out in a similar sequence as they came in. This is all to make room for 32 new and permanent adult teeth (four of those will be wisdom teeth that emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood).

Most baby teeth will fall out naturally. The permanent teeth push them out as part of a resorption process. Sometimes, your child might wiggle a loose tooth free. They can fall out by impact, during play, or get stuck in an apple.

Who Are Pediatric Dentists, and How Can They Help?

Pediatric dentists specialize in oral health and the prevention and treatment of diseases and tooth decay in infants, toddlers, and adolescents. Even adults fear visits to the dentist, and children might be equally or more apprehensive and uncooperative when it’s time for an appointment.

Along with general dental education, they receive additional residency training in order to make children in the dental chair as comfortable as possible. They use a variety of methods to calm anxieties and inform parents, guardians, and little ones about what to expect. They are also taught how to handle young people with special needs and attention disorders.

What Do They Do? 

Pediatric dentists are like regular dentists who know how to deal with kids. They do oral exams and risk assessments for cavities (caries), and they repair tooth defects. They provide preventive dental care, including fluoride treatments and cleaning.

These specialists also give nutrition and diet advice to promote healthy gum and teeth support. They provide counseling to curb unhealthy habits, such as thumb sucking and pacifier use, which might impede proper tooth development. This is a crucial age for correcting an improper bite or straightening teeth.

Pediatric dentists care for dental injuries like broken, fractured, or missing teeth. They deal with the management of gum diseases and various conditions, including ulcers, short frenulum, mucoceles, and pediatric periodontal disease. They even help diagnose other oral conditions associated with ailments such as diabetes, asthma, congenital heart defects, and hay fever.

If you have any further questions about your child’s baby teeth, don’t hesitate to reach out to a pediatric dentist. They’ll help you navigate your little one’s oral health better.

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