Parents’ Guide to Baby Teeth
Children’s smiles certainly light up a room, but it is not uncommon to notice imperfections in those mouths! Don’t be alarmed, baby teeth come in all sizes, shapes, and slants. They are a critical component of every child’s development and more often than not there are logical reasons why baby teeth form the way they do. Check out this guide to common toddler teeth concerns.
Spaced Out Teeth
Since baby teeth are small and less numerous than adult teeth, it is common for your child to have gaps between them. Toddlers only have 20 primary baby teeth while adults have 28 to 32. It is normal and actually healthy for kids to have spaces between their baby teeth. Parents may be concerned that their child’s teeth will remain gapped throughout adulthood. But, as soon as those pearly whites fall out, adult teeth will come into place having plenty of room to fill in those gaps nicely. Think of the spaces between your child’s teeth as placeholders for the bigger and stronger permanent teeth that will be coming in between age 6-12.
Overcrowding in the mouth is common and can be caused by many different factors including thumb sucking, irregular tooth size, cleft lip or palate, jaw injury, or extra teeth. Indications of overcrowding could include an adult tooth erupting before baby teeth fall out or a permanent tooth growing in crooked. Overcrowding can be treated in several ways, many times with simple intervention if treatment is started early. Early intervention may reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment later in life. Depending on the severity of the overcrowding, a longer course of action may be necessary. Regardless of the suggested treatment, it is important that the underlying cause of overcrowding is addressed. Ensuring your children’s teeth and supporting bones stay healthy, will help enhance the durability and longevity of all their teeth. Remember, always be diligent about brushing and flossing as cavities and gum disease are more prone to occur in crowded mouths.
Crooked baby teeth are common and not cause for immediate concern. Toddlers with crooked baby teeth won’t necessarily have their permanent teeth grow in crooked. A baby’s jaw changes excessively during the early years of life, and permanent teeth tend to grow in differently than baby teeth. The most important thing to do is focus on excellent infant oral care by making sure their teeth are being cleaned after feedings to prevent cavities. Babies should be seen at age 1 for their first dental visit to establish a dental home.
If your child’s teeth seem to appear discolored, make sure you and your child are brushing twice a day and after sugary snacks or drinks. The enamel of baby teeth is thinner than that of adult teeth, and it is much easier for plaque to accumulate. Keep in mind that baby teeth are whiter than adult teeth so when adult teeth begin to come in, the side by side comparison of the two can appear more pronounced.
It’s important to start your child off with a comprehensive oral hygiene routine including dental visits from one year of age. From infant to teen, there are steps you and your dentist can take to ensure your child will continue on a path of successful oral health.
If you have any questions or want to book an appointment with one of our board-certified pediatric dentists at Lindner Dental Associates, please call us at 603-624-3900!