Deciduous teeth (baby teeth)

Deciduous teeth are the first teeth to erupt in children. They play a decisive role in chewing food, speaking and the development of the permanent dentition.

Reading time: 5min

Topic: Teens

Baby teeth

The primary dentition

The primary dentition has different functions and a different structure compared to the permanent dentition.

The primary dentition
  • Structure and role of deciduous teeth: deciduous teeth, also called milk teeth or baby teeth, can be divided into incisors, canines and molars. Each type of tooth has a specific function in grinding food and speaking.

  • The role of deciduous teeth in speech and chewing: deciduous teeth enable children to chew food and are essential for clear pronunciation and correct speech patterns.

  • Significance for the development of the permanent dentition: deciduous teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth. They keep the space free until the permanent teeth come in and thus significantly influence the alignment of the future dentition.

How many baby teeth do children have?

A child has a total of 20 so-called baby teeth, including incisors, canines and molars. Adults, however, have a total of 32 permanent teeth. So-called molars and wisdom teeth only develop in the permanent dentition and grow later on.

Primary dentition vs permanent dentition

At what age do you have a full set of baby teeth?

Baby teeth normally come in between the ages of 6 months and 3 years. So your child should have all 20 primary teeth by the age of 3.

Why is the correct care of deciduous/milk teeth so important?

Milk teeth are crucial for children's oral health. They prevent malpositions and ensure that the permanent teeth are correctly aligned. The 3 most important purposes of intact and healthy milk teeth are:

  • Preventing malpositions
  • Preventing cavities
  • Promoting speech development

Deciduous teeth prevent malpositions

Deciduous teeth are placeholders for the permanent teeth. If they are missing or extracted prematurely, this can lead to misaligned teeth later in life.

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Baby teeth with cavities

Baby teeth with cavities

Cavities in a deciduous tooth can spread to the permanent teeth that have not yet come in. Fillings in baby teeth are therefore also particularly important for the health of permanent teeth. There are a number of preventive measures to avoid tooth decay in baby teeth.

  • Brush your teeth regularly
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Healthy, balanced diet
  • Low sugar diet
  • Regular dental check-ups

Speech development

Malocclusions in the primary dentition can be the cause of speech disorders both as a child and later as an adult. Early treatment of primary teeth can therefore have a positive effect on speech development.

The transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth

This transition is a natural process in which the baby teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth.

During this transition, certain issues may arise, with the most prevalent ones being delays or irregular tooth loss.

It is important to schedule regular check-ups also during this transition, so that potential challenges can be recognised and resolved at an early stage. A smooth transition to permanent teeth is important for the correct alignment of the permanent teeth and long-term oral health as an adult.

Which teeth fall out in children?

All teeth in the primary dentition are replaced by those of the permanent dentition. During this transition, the lower incisors usually fall out first, followed by the upper incisors, canines and finally the molars.

At what age are all baby teeth typically gone?

Baby teeth usually fall out between the ages of 6 and 13.

Chipped baby teeth

Chipped baby teeth

Occasionally, children may have broken baby teeth, which can have various different causes:

In such cases, dental treatment is often needed to fix broken or chipped baby teeth and make sure nothing gets transferred to the permanent teeth. Furthermore, this also supports a healthy development of the permanent teeth. The treatment method depends on the patient's dental situation. For minor damages fillings are enough, but for more extensive damage crowns are also an option.

Chalky baby teeth

Chalky baby teeth

Chalky teeth is a developmental disorder of the deciduous teeth that affects around 15% of all children. It causes the teeth to become brittle and sensitive. The severity of chalky teeth is divided into different levels.

Causes of chalky baby teeth

The exact causes of chalky teeth are not yet fully understood, but genetic factors and environmental influences may play a role. Possible reasons may be:

  • Incorrect nutrition and deficiency of important minerals such as calcium and fluoride
  • Exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy or in early childhood
  • Use of certain medications during pregnancy or in childhood
  • Imbalances in the hormonal system during pregnancy or in early childhood
  • Infections or illnesses during childhood

Treatment and prevention of chalky teeth

The treatment of chalky teeth may involve specialised dental care and, in some cases, specific dental treatments. Regular check-ups are important in order to recognise and treat chalky teeth at an early stage.

What treatments does bestsmile offer for children and teenagers?

At bestsmile, teenagers as young as 11 can undergo treatment with Teens Aligner. During your 3D scan appointment, a specialised orthodontist will give you personal advice.

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Last update: 16.01.2024


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