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Eruption of Permanent Teeth

Between the ages of six and thirteen, a child loses their primary teeth in preparation for adult dentition.  In most cases, this transition is easy and causes very little discomfort or concern as the body knows exactly how to assist baby teeth to fall out and the permanent teeth to move into place. There is a short stage during this process when a child’s smile may not look quite right – thanks to the presence of both baby and adult teeth, but as the transition continues and other factors like jaw growth and facial development take place, a child’s smile becomes more balanced.

How Do Baby Teeth Know It’s Time To Fall Out?

You might think that baby teeth were fitted with timers – set to go off and alert the tooth to fall out.  And, while the human body doesn’t have any fancy timer apps, it does have a way of letting baby teeth know that their job is done and it’s time for adult teeth to move into place. When an unerupted permanent tooth start its journey down and begins pressing against the roots of a baby tooth, it signals that tooth that it’s time to fall out.  You’ll likely remember that many of your baby teeth were just a crown with no roots. That because the baby tooth’s roots are slowly reabsorbed, so it can come out easily.

When There’s Baby and Adult Teeth.

Unfortunately the eruption of adult teeth doesn’t always go smoothly, and sometimes there’s both a baby and an adult tooth present in the mouth at the same time.  This is usually caused by crowding. When space is limited, the erupting tooth veers off course trying to find enough room.  Children with narrow arches that haven’t adequately grown to match the phase of eruption often display two sets of teeth, and it’s fairly common to see lower front adult teeth behind or in front of baby teeth. When this happens, the baby tooth may need to be extracted. But, once the baby tooth falls out or is removed, the permanent teeth can move into better alignment.

What if the Baby Teeth Fall Out Too Soon?

The flip side of the eruption coin is when baby teeth are lost prematurely and permanent teeth aren’t ready to erupt, resulting in a gappy smile and a lack of guidance for developing adult teeth.  The use of space maintainers holds space for erupting adult teeth and prevents remaining baby teeth from drifting out of alignment.  A child can wear one or more space maintainers to preserve space and correct arch alignment.

Baby teeth may be temporary, but they have an important role in your child’s overall oral health for years to come. Not only do baby teeth serve as a practice set so that your child can have their flossing and brushing perfected for their permanent teeth, but they also help to guide adult teeth into correct alignment. At Apple Dental we take baby teeth seriously, so if you’re not sure your child’s teeth are erupting on schedule, we’d be happy to answer your questions and give you advice. Talk to the General Dentists at Apple Dental Group today – 403.640.4000