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Baby Teeth and Orthodontics

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eruption chartYou may be wondering what baby teeth and orthodontics have in common, especially if you think of pre-teens and teenagers in braces when you think of the orthodontist. Baby teeth and orthodontics actually have a lot to do with each other. This even goes so far as to how quickly or slowly your baby teeth fall out.

Most children start to lose their teeth around age 6 and often start with the front teeth, followed by the side, and finally the molars. Teeth generally fall out in a similar order to which they came in. Check out this timeline to see how your baby’s teeth are supposed to erupt and fall out. It is always a good idea to see an orthodontist by age 7 to monitor spacing and jaw growth, and all of our consultations are complimentary.

 

Early Loss of Baby Teeth

Your baby teeth hold and maintain space for your permanent teeth until they are fully developed and ready to erupt. If your baby teeth fall out too quickly, whether naturally or due to trauma, this space may close. This can cause crowding which if not corrected can lead to extractions later on in childhood.

It is incredibly important to consult an orthodontist if early loss of baby teeth is a concern. Orthodontists can use the time your child is still growing to create more space for permanent teeth to come in, or use to make a space maintainer to stop the space from closing. This will prevent complications later on in childhood, as crowded teeth are much more difficult to properly clean. Early treatment also shortens time in braces.

 

Late Loss of Baby Teeth

Similarly, losing baby teeth too late in childhood can also cause complications with orthodontic treatment and oral health. If a child does not lose any teeth by age 8, it is possible there is nothing wrong. However it is still important to consult an orthodontist.

It is common for there to be no tooth loss between the ages of eight and ten, which is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends age seven as the ideal age for a consult. When your child comes in at this age we can determine the location of all permanent teeth. We can also determine if there is enough space for the permanent teeth to continue erupting. This ensures there are no problems that need early correction.

When a baby tooth stays in place for too long, it can cause permanent teeth to erupt crooked or overcrowded. Crooked and crowded teeth can cause tooth decay or gum disease, due to an inability to brush or floss properly.

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