Everything You Need to Know About Baby Teeth

You probably remember when the tooth fairy paid you a visit. You can’t wait until you get to play tooth fairy for your child.

The tooth fairy typically makes her first visit around age 6 and her last around the age of 12.

What are baby teeth exactly?

Whether you’re expecting your first child or have recently welcomed a new addition to your family, it is good to become familiar with baby teeth so you can best care for your little one’s teeth and gums.

The first baby teeth come in between three and five months of age. The teeth typically come in sets of two, beginning with the front, bottom incisors and ending with the top back molars. By the time they are three, all the baby teeth should have grown in.

In these early stages of teeth growth, our baby may be uncomfortable. Non-liquid filled teething rings and toys as well as clean, damp washcloths are great ways to keep your baby distracted and help them reduce the aching and discomfort of their gums as their teeth are growing in.

It is recommended by many dentists, including us at Madison Smile Solutions, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists that parents take their child in for their first dental appointment by the age of one.

At this initial dental appointment, the dentist will examine the child’s teeth and advise parents on the best way to care for their child’s teeth. Typically, the child’s teeth aren’t cleaned at this appointment.

A number of parents neglect taking their child to the dentist this early and they may also slide on proper dental care and hygiene of their child’s teeth because they don’t recognize the importance of baby teeth. They just assume it is pointless to care for baby teeth that will only fall out in a few years.

Baby teeth are important to children as it helps them chew and speak properly.

Cavities in baby teeth can lead to premature loss of teeth which can lead to incorrect alignment of the permanent teeth that will take their places. Cavities in baby teeth can spread the tooth disease to the permanent, adult teeth underneath.

Between the ages of 6 and 12, the child’s baby teeth will fall out, making room for the adult teeth coming up underneath.

The baby teeth will fall out in the same order in which they grew in: The front bottom teeth first and the upper molars last.

The wisdom teeth are an exception. The wisdom teeth are the four back most molars with two on each side of the mouth, one on the top and one on the bottom. These teeth typically don’t grow in until the late teen years or early 20s.

Many children (or young adults) have their wisdom teeth extracted because they are not needed and will cause the crowding of teeth and jaw alignment issues if left in the mouth.

During the teen years, after all the permanent teeth have grown in (except for the wisdom teeth), necessary orthodontic work will commence.

After the initial dental appointment at one year of age, children should see the dentist twice a year. At home dental care can begin as soon as the first baby teeth erupt.

Parents can smear a small amount of toothpaste onto a washcloth to rub on their child’s teeth to start. As more teeth come in, up through age 8, parents can use a child-designed tooth brush to brush their child’s teeth. After age 8, children should be able to clean their teeth themselves.

Flossing can also begin early, as soon as two baby teeth come up next to each other.

If your child is one year of age or older, schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric dentists as soon as possible.

The earlier your child’s teeth are cared for, the better chance they have to have a healthy, lifelong smile.