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Why is it important to fix baby teeth?

Advancement in the speciality of Paediatric Dentistry

It is very important to maintain the health of the primary teeth. They are the framework around which the adult teeth will develop.

Baby teeth are important for:

  • proper chewing and eating
  • providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position
  • stimulating normal development of the facial bones and muscles.
  • the development of normal speech
  • contributing to your child’s attractive appearance.

Don’t all the baby teeth fall out at six?

While the front baby teeth will be shed for adult teeth between six and eight years of age, but the back teeth (canines and baby molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13. The first adult molar grows at the very back of the mouth when you are six, but it has no baby precursor.

If the baby teeth are so important, why do you pull some out?

There are many reasons that could make removal of a baby tooth the best option. The most common reason is that the tooth has simply deteriorated beyond repair. If this has occurred, keeping the baby tooth may cause ongoing pain or infection, it may damage the developing adult tooth, and may force the adult teeth into the wrong position. Badly broken down baby teeth often fail to fall out normally. The early loss of a baby tooth means that it can no longer do its job of chewing and guiding adult teeth into their normal position, increasing the likelihood that orthodontic treatment with “braces” will be needed later. We will always try to carry out dental restorations at the earliest opportunity to minimise the need for early extractions.

Sometimes however, specific baby teeth are removed to help other teeth to grow into a better position.

But it’s not just about the teeth!

  • Early Childhood Caries is associated with Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Early Childhood Caries is associated with Malnutrition including low vitamin D, low calcium, and albumin concentrations and elevated PTH levels.
  • Early Childhood Caries is associated with Disordered eating
  • Early Childhood Caries is associated with extremes of Failure to thrive and obesity