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Why Are Primary Teeth Important?

Primary teeth, also known as “baby teeth” or “deciduous teeth,” begin to develop beneath the gums during the second trimester of pregnancy.  Teeth begin to emerge above the gums approximately six months to one year after birth.  Typically, preschool children have a complete set of 20 baby teeth – including four molars on each arch.

One of the most common misconceptions about primary teeth is that they are irrelevant to the child’s future oral health.  However, their importance is emphasized by the American Dental Association (ADA), which urges parents to schedule a “baby checkup” with a pediatric dentist within six months of the first tooth emerges.

What are the functions of primary teeth?

Primary teeth can be painful to acquire.  To soothe tender gums, biting on chewing rings, wet gauze pads, and clean fingers can be helpful.  Though most three-year-old children have a complete set of primary teeth, eruption happens gradually – usually starting at the front of the mouth.

The major functions of primary teeth are described below:

Speech production and development – Learning to speak clearly is crucial for cognitive, social, and emotional development.  The proper positioning of primary teeth facilitates correct syllable pronunciation and prevents the tongue from straying during speech formation.

Eating and nutrition – Children with malformed or severely decayed primary teeth are more likely to experience dietary deficiencies, malnourishment, and to be underweight.  Proper chewing motions are acquired over time and with extensive practice.  Healthy primary teeth promote good chewing habits and facilitate nutritious eating.

Self-confidence – Even very young children can be quick to point out ugly teeth and crooked smiles.  Taking good care of primary teeth can make social interactions more pleasant, reduce the risk of bad breath, and promote confident smiles and positive social interactions.

Straighter smiles – One of the major functions of primary teeth is to hold an appropriate amount of space for developing adult teeth.  In addition, these spacers facilitate the proper alignment of adult teeth and also promote jaw development.  Left untreated, missing primary teeth cause the remaining teeth to “shift” and fill spaces improperly.  For this reason, pediatric dentists often recommend space-maintaining devices.

Excellent oral health – Badly decayed primary teeth can promote the onset of childhood periodontal disease.  As a result of this condition, oral bacteria invade and erode gums, ligaments, and eventually bone.  If left untreated, primary teeth can drop out completely – causing health and spacing problems for emerging permanent teeth.  To avoid periodontal disease, children should practice an adult-guided oral care routine each day, and infant gums should be rubbed gently with a clean, damp cloth after meals.

If you have questions or concerns about primary teeth, please contact our office

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

I had the unfortunate experience of a severe tooth pain while visiting family in Vista. I called you and you got me right in- Dr. Sarkaria took care of me. She was gentle in touch and spirit and spent unhurried time with me. She was sweet, sympathetic and caring. She gave me immediate pain relief,prescriptions, and advice for the plane trip home to North Carolina the next day. She was correct in her diagnosis and i got it fixed. I would love to live in Vista to be able to visit such a great practice. Thank you so much

J.S.

I just wanted to thank all of you for all your wonderful care of my " bad tooth" experience! I am so thankful to have the best Dr's i ever had! Everyone there is the best at their jobs- but more important everyone is so kind and caring. I feel like i've known you a lifetime! Thanks so much.

Warmly. A. M

I came into this office a few years ago for an urgent need. Found them on goggle and they were the only ones that could fit me in that day. From that point on, after seeing the interaction the Doctors have with the rest of the staff, and how the entire staff treated the patients; I felt very safe and comfortable there. Years later, I still commute sometimes from where i live (nears San Diego airport) up to the office. Yes it's about 50 miles each way but, with the office professionalism, tact, and 'family' environment, I actually looked forward to coming into get something grinded on or my gums poked at! I never thought i'd be able to say that i looked forward to going to the dentist but, this office gave me that 'UMPH'!

A.C.

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