frequently asked questions

How are baby teeth replaced by permanent teeth?

 

Process of Exfoliation

At about six years of age, the roots of your child's lower front baby teeth begin to dissolve as his/her new permanent teeth grow. As this happens, the baby teeth begin to become loose. Your child's baby tooth may wiggle for quite a while before it actually comes out. Encourage your child to gently push on the tooth to help it loosen up. It is not abnormal for a permanent tooth to start to come into your child's mouth before his/her baby tooth comes out. If a baby tooth does not come out soon after the appearance of the new permanent tooth, we should take a look at the situation. An over-retained baby tooth may interfere with the normal development and position of your child's adult tooth.

Your child's baby teeth are responsible for guiding his/her permanent teeth into their correct position in his/her jaw. If your child's baby tooth is lost prematurely due to an accident or decay, it is extremely important that the space be held open with a space maintainer. If this space is not held open, the tooth underneath may have problems growing in later.

Even though your child's first teeth are replaced by a permanent set, these primary or baby teeth play a very important role in your baby's dental development. When your child is born all twenty of the primary teeth, which will appear over the next two years, are already present in your baby's jaws. These teeth are almost fully developed, but they will remain hidden under your child's gums until his/her lower front teeth begin to emerge at about six or seven months. Teething will continue on and off for about two years. Around age six, your child's permanent teeth begin to appear and teething will again continue on and off until about age twelve. At that point, all your child's permanent teeth with the exception of the wisdom teeth should be present in his/her mouth.

Even though baby teeth will be replaced by the permanent teeth, they are crucial to the jaw development and positioning of the permanent teeth of your child. Because the baby teeth are responsible for guiding the permanent teeth into their proper place in your child's mouth, baby teeth that are missing or prematurely lost may need to have their natural space held open, usually by a device called a space maintainer.

The baby teeth generally come out when they are ready, without any complications!



 

Disclaimer

Doctor Wang, Doctor Perea-Corkish, Doctor Gerodias and the other Doctors of Discovery Pediatric Dentistry make no warranties, expressed or implied, as to any results to be obtained from use of the information "What should I do in a Dental Emergency." We cannot diagnose or treat patients over the Internet. Information on this site is for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal, medical, and/or dental attention or diagnosis. Without all available information about a patient, it is impossible to make a diagnosis. Help and answers are in the form of general ideas. Only you, your dentist, and other necessary and qualified health care providers can make an appropriate treatment decision in an emergency or for everyday care and dental treatment.

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