It’s a big event when your child gets their first tooth. But before you know it, the tooth is lost, followed by an exciting visit from the tooth fairy. So, you may wonder what’s up if the Mount Prospect Family Dentist recommends a filling on a baby tooth. You’re probably wondering why it’s necessary if the tooth going to be lost anyway?
The Role Baby Teeth Play
The answer is that, while the tooth is still in the mouth, it has some important roles to play in your child’s dental development. For one thing, baby teeth perform the same functions in kids as they do in adults: Namely, they enable us to chew, bite, and speak properly.
The primary teeth also have a valuable social purpose: they allow us to smile properly. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely at age 6, the child may suffer detrimental effects for five years or more — and that’s a long time for someone so young!
Even more important, baby teeth have a critical function in the developing mouth and jaw: Each one holds a space open for the permanent tooth that will eventually replace it — and it doesn’t “let go” until the new tooth is ready to come in.
If a primary (baby) tooth is lost too soon, other teeth adjacent to the opening may drift into the empty space. This often means that the permanent teeth may erupt (emerge above the gum line) in the wrong place — or sometimes, not at all.
Treating Baby Teeth
Our Mount Prospect Family Dentist may recommend procedures like fillings to preserve a baby tooth that would otherwise be lost. But if it isn’t possible to save the tooth, an appliance called a space maintainer may help. This is a small metal appliance that is attached to one tooth; its purpose is to keep a space open where the permanent tooth can come in.
If your child is facing the premature loss of a primary tooth, we will be sure to discuss all the options with you. If you have questions about your child’s baby teeth, please contact us to arrange a consultation with our dentist .