Speaker: Dr. Muralee Mohan BDS. MDS. MOSRCSEd(U.K). DNB. MBA. FPFA
Isnʼt it adorable to see your baby giving out the worldʼs cutest smile to you, the smile that has the ability to make you forget about all the problems of your life, but ever
imagined that smile full of decayed and broken teeth? Childʼs teeth is most commonly ignored, as parents have a wrong notion that these teeth are anyways gonna fall and
the baby will be getting a new set of permanent teeth, Right? You are under wrong assumption here, Read this article completely to learn about the importance of milk
teeth and why is it necessary to take good care of them.
What are primary teeth ?
Primary teeth, also known as milk teeth is called so as they are as white as the colour of milk, they are present inside the jaw of a baby during birth but the first tooth comes into the oral cavity when the baby is around 6 months old,although the time period of eruption varies from child to child.
What happens during tooth eruption ?
During the eruption of tooth, you can notice slight swelling in the particular region, there will also be redness and pain on touching them, The child will experience itching in that region and will develop the practice of biting any object available, At time child will also develop diarrhoea and mild fever during tooth eruption which is common and child should be taken to see a dentist if the symptoms worse.
How many milk teeth will a child have ?
Ideally a child should have 20 milk teeth, 8 incisors, 4 canines and 8 molars.
What is the importance of milk teeth ?
Milk teeth play a vital role in the overall growth and development of a child,
Speech: Try pronouncing L, N, and observe the area being touched by your tongue, it touches the back surface of your upper front teeth, similarly in a child where the
speech factor is under developing phase at that age, milk teeth play a vital role in proper development of phonetics.
Appearance: Children go through a major psychological trauma if they are teased about their appearance or broken tooth in school or public places which affects their self confidence. So having a perfect set of milk teeth without caries or fracture is very essential in boosting the confidence of a child.
Nutrition: The famous saying goes as You are what you eat, but hold on, are you able to eat? With the mere ignorance by the parents about the condition of milk teeth,and with lack of treatment given to them, the child will not be able to chew and digest most of the food items which are very essential to their growth, for example: fruits and nuts, You will only complain about childʼs repulsion towards such foods but you will fail to see the reason why a child throws tantrum on seeing such foods, as it pains on chewing them due to cavities etc, So it is very important to have strong milk teeth for the growth and nutrition of a child.
Development of permanent tooth: The healthy presence of milk tooth guides the eruption of permanent tooth in its desired position without any disturbance. If the milk tooth sheds early the permanent tooth erupts in an unpleasant position which causes the requirement of braces treatment in the future to align them properly.
What is expected out of parents in taking care of milk teeth ?
It is very difficult to control a child from not eating sweets and chocolates, so even if they consume such sticky and sugary foods it is the parents duty to make sure that the child chews and swallows it completely and nothing stays inside the mouth which leads to the formation of cavities,Parents should also clean the oral cavity of a child and keeping it free from food lodgement.
A compulsory visit to a dentist once in 6 months will help in easy maintenance of the growth of Childʼs teeth and also a proper treatment will be given by the dentists for teeth in need.
Who is a pedodontist ?
A pedodontist is a dentist who has specialised in taking care of your Childs oral heath and in development of its teeth, he identifies the cause and treats them, takes care
of milk teeth to aid in chewing and speech until the permanent teeth erupts into the oral cavity, he does procedures like pulpotomy, pulpectomy for the tooth which
is decayed till the nerves, he gives appliances which assists the kid to break the habits like keeping the finger in the mouth and tongue thrusting, mouth breathing. He also
gives appliances called as space maintainers which maintains the space in case of early shedding of milk tooth until the eruption of its successive permanent tooth.
How often should you visit a pedodontist ?
It is advised to take your child to a pedodontist once in 6 months, as the child is in growing stage and new teeth are erupting and milk teeth are shedding in this phase, a
pedodontist will periodically monitor them and takes care of the oral heath of your child.
What is mixed dentition?
When the child is around 10 years of age you can see some of the milk teeth still being present and some of the erupted permanent teeth in the oral cavity, This phase is called as mixed dentition phase.
What is ugly duckling phase ?
When the kid is around 8-11 years of age you will be able to notice the eruption of permanent canine, and during this eruption it exerts pressure on the root of adjacent teeth and a gap can be noticed between the front two teeth due to the tilting. During this few kids can feel embarrassed about their appearance and this causes a fall in confidence in them. This is a self correcting phenomenon and resolves once the canine is completely erupted in the oral cavity. And this doesnʼt require any kind of orthodontic treatment to close the gaps.
A childʼs oral health is as important as the adult oral health and a mere negligence can drastically affect the overall growth and development of a child, hence it is very important to visit the dentist once in 6 months and personal guidance from the parents in oral hygiene habits of a child can help in maintaining the milk teeth and the
successive permanent ones.