The Importance of Primary Teeth

Why are primary teeth so important? Can accidents to the primary teeth harm the permanent teeth?

Primary teeth serve as the guide or pathway for the permanent teeth. They are sort of a "blueprint" for the teeth that will come after them. If a child has good primary teeth, he or she will most likely have good permanent teeth.

The primary teeth also permit the child to chew food properly, allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits, and provide for a healthy smile that promotes your loved one's self-esteem.

Primary teeth first begin to appear around six months or so. They begin forming in the jaw bones even before your baby is born. The two lower front teeth are usually the first to erupt, then followed by the upper two. You can expect to see all 20 primary teeth by age three.

Then, primary teeth will begin to be lost around the age of 5 or 6 with the final ones being gone by the age of 12 or 13. It is very important that primary teeth are kept until they are lost naturally. If primary teeth are lost too early, a "space maintainer" may be necessary to ensure enough room for the permanent teeth when they erupt.

Regarding accidents to the primary teeth, yes they can damage the permanent teeth. If the primary tooth is pushed into the jawbone, the permanent tooth can be damaged. Any injury to the face and jaws should be checked. If left untreated, hidden damage due to facial injuries may harm the developing permanent teeth.

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