I think we all tend to take baby teeth for granted. They are just there for a few years and then they fall out so we don’t take them too seriously, but baby teeth are incredibly important for many reasons.
It’s vital that you take your child to see a dentist by age 1. By doing this, you can learn from your dentist and hygienist the best way to care for your baby’s teeth, start her off on the right foot, get her used to seeing the dentist and make sure we avoid big problems that can lead to traumatic dental visits later on. Seeing your dentist and hygienist every 6 months after that is a great way to prevent problems and reinforce good habits.
As an orthodontist at Arkansas Dentistry & Braces, I look at baby teeth as the space maintainers for adult teeth. Their job is to hold space for the adult teeth that follow them. Basically they are saving a seat for their big brothers and sisters. If baby teeth are lost too early because of cavities or trauma, then the space they are saving can close up and cause big problems for the adult teeth – sometimes the adult teeth are even prevented from coming in! It is extremely important to maintain the space when baby teeth are lost early. The good news is that it’s very easy to do if you catch the problem in time.
Taking your child to see your dentist and hygienist early and often is the best way to prevent damage or loss to baby teeth and to make sure space is maintained if there are problems. Seeing an orthodontist by age 6 or 7 is the best way to make sure the baby teeth are doing what they are supposed to and that the adult teeth are coming along well. It is rare these days for a child to receive orthodontic treatment early but we orthodontists are very keen to observe and manage baby teeth and the eruption of the adult teeth in the hopes that the adult teeth come in as straight as possible so we can avoid adult tooth removal. Sometimes we can even avoid braces altogether.– Ben Burris, DDS, MDS