Primary teeth, also known as “baby teeth” or “deciduous teeth,” begin to develop beneath the gums during the second trimester of pregnancy so when your baby is born,20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws. They typically begin to appear or “erupt” when a baby is between 6 months and 1 year. Although every child could be different but usually the first teeth to come in are located in the top and bottom front of their mouth. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3.
Primary teeth have very important functions:
-Help the child to chew properly and maintain good nutrition
-Help in development of speech
-Give the child a healthy smile and help them have a great self-image
-Keep the space for the permanent teeth
One of the most common misconceptions about primary teeth is that they are irrelevant to the child’s future oral health. However, their importance is emphasized by AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) which urges parents to schedule the “First Check-up” with a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than the child’s first birthday.
Untreated dental disease compromises the child’s ability to eat well, sleep well, and function well at home and at school. The unaesthetic nature of untreated dental decay compromises the child’s self-esteem and social development. It is also very important that the primary teeth are kept in place until they are lost naturally.When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.