Following on my earlier post on caring for your children’s teeth, I thought it would be useful to touch on the topic of tooth eruption sequence.
Images courtesy of the American Dental Association.
Many of us have the mentality that we don’t have to look after our baby teeth because they all fall out anyway.
What we don’t realise is that often it is a while before these baby teeth “fall out” (exfoliate). The problem arises when baby teeth (deciduous teeth) are lost prematurely, and the space in the arch is lost, leaving insufficient room for the permanent tooth to erupt.
A young patient of mine the other week presented with decay on both his front and back baby teeth. He was 6 years of age. The mother was insistent that these teeth didn’t need to be saved as they would fall out anyway. With a bit of discussion with both the parent and the patient, we had agreed that the front teeth required no treatment as they would soon become mobile from the erupting central incisors, however, the back teeth would require fillings as the permanent successor wouldn’t be knocking on the door for another 4-6 years. This would maintain the space in the arch, rather than allowing further decay in the teeth which may eventuate in early extraction.