Just because your child’s primary teeth, often known as “baby teeth,” eventually fall out, doesn’t mean they’re not important. Primary teeth play an important role in your child’s overall well-being. Primary teeth require professional and at home care, just like your permanent teeth. Dental decay can happen at any age. The AAPD, ADA, and AAP recommend your child see the dentist within six months of their first baby tooth or by age one. In addition to checking your child for dental decay and monitoring development, Dr Katie will help you develop the habits to ensure that your child has a lifetime of good dental health.


What is the purpose of primary teeth?
Most children will have all 20 primary teeth by their third birthday. These teeth serve many purposes, including:

  • Promoting good nutrition through proper chewing
  • Enabling the child to pay attention and learn in school without the distraction of dental pain
  • Providing a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt
  • Building self-esteem through a beautiful smile


What happens if baby teeth aren’t taken care of?

Primary teeth can get cavities just like permanent teeth. Cavities in primary teeth can cause pain and infection. Dental disease can spread quickly within a child’s mouth and needs to be treated early if possible. Dental infection can be especially dangerous in children because of its proximity to the developing airway.

If a tooth gets infected it will need to be extracted. Dr Katie may recommend placement of a space maintainer in the area of the extraction. A space maintainer will prevent drifting of your child’s primary teeth and possible additional orthodontic intervention later.

The most important aspect of taking care of your child’s primary teeth is the example you help to set. Building the habits of brushing and flossing will help your child continue the practice of good dental health that they can carry into adulthood. Dental visits are also easier when your child practices good dental health!