Development of dental system Parental concerns
Primary teeth Permanent teeth Common dental problems
A child's first set of 20 teeth are called baby, primary, deciduous, or milky teeth. As these teeth fall out, they are replaced by 32 permanent, adult, or secondary teeth. Both primary and permanent teeth usually erupt (break through the gum) in a specific order on each side of the upper and lower jaws. However, the timing of both primary and permanent tooth eruption can vary by two or more years but the interval between eruption of two symmetric teeth should not be more than 6 months.
Except for the earliest stages of prenatal development, and possibly the third permanent molars or wisdom teeth, dental development in girls proceeds ahead of that in boys, often by as much as 6 percent. Girls also have slightly smaller crowns and slightly shorter tooth roots than boys.
It is well to bear in mind that every tooth a man will ever have (except the false ones) is already formed or being formed in his jaws at birth. In detail, at birth all of the deciduous teeth are definitely formed and calcification is in process; the six year molars are formed and calcification of their crowns is under way; all of the other permanent teeth have been laid down and await calcification during early childhood.
It is before birth, when these teeth are forming, that we must begin to save the teeth of child and adult. A soft pre-tooth structure laid down in the jaws of the embryo, due to nutritional perversion of the mother, predisposes the teeth to cavities and decay. Finally calcification, due to nutritional perversions and deficiencies, injures both the milky and the permanent teeth.
The rapidity with which decay can advance in baby teeth necessitates periodic dental examinations and cleanings. Pediatric dentists often recommend a first dental appointment at 12 to 18 months of age. Some recommend a first appointment at six months. At the very least, a child should see a dentist by age two-and-a-half or when all of the baby teeth have erupted.
Between two-and-a-half and six years of age is a critical period for dental development. Parents should regularly examine a child's teeth for signs of decay, crowdedness, or misalignment. A dentist should be consulted if any of the following occurs:
Common dental problems
Teething (the eruption of the primary teeth through the gums) may cause discomfort or pain. Teething babies may:
be restless and irritable, lose their appetites, sleep poorly, cry excessively, have flushed cheeks, have a slight fever, have congestion, dribble or drool, have red swollen gums at the new teeth sites, rub their gums, suck their thumbs, want something to chew on.
For teething symptoms, parents may massage the gums to relieve discomfort. A frozen teething toy numbs the gums and reduces swelling, although it should not be left on the gum for more than one minute without a break. They may also relieve symptoms by the following:
Eruptions of the permanent teeth are usually much less distressing, although the eruption of the first four broad permanent molars may cause discomfort. As the permanent molars push through the gums, they often leave a flap of tissue over the tooth. If food becomes trapped under the flap, the gums may become sore, swollen, and painful, infected, or abscessed.
While dental development may be slightly advanced in obese children, development delay can occur with the emergence of some permanent teeth. Delay can be caused by the following:
However, the timing of both primary and permanent tooth eruption can vary by two or more years but the interval between eruption of two symmetric teeth should not be more than 6 months. Conservatively, any sign of considerable delayed eruption should be consulted with a dentist.
The enamel on baby teeth is thinner and softer than on permanent teeth and decay can move through it very rapidly. About 50 percent of two-year-olds have at least one cavity.
Milky bottle tooth decay occurs when sugary liquids, including milk, juice, or formula, cling to the baby's teeth, particularly when the child is put to bed with a bottle. The decay occurs most often in the upper front teeth but other teeth also can be affected. If a decayed baby tooth is lost too early, the adjacent teeth may move into the space, causing crooked and overcrowded permanent teeth.
Disorders that may cause discoloration of the teeth include:
In recent human beings, wisdom teeth frequently have difficulty erupting because the jaws are too small. A wisdom tooth may rotate, tilt, or be displaced as it attempts to emerge, and it can become impacted (partially buried) in the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth do not always cause problems. However wisdom teeth are always difficult to clean and susceptible to decay, gum disease and occasionally cysts and tumors. thus an impacted wisdom tooth is usually extracted.