Forewarned Is Forearmed: Dental Developmental Stages Every Parent Needs to Know About

Posted on: 8 October 2015


Maintaining the health of your teeth is something that everyone needs to be concerned about from cradle to grave. Okay, so technically very few people need to worry about their teeth while still in the cradle (unless they happen to have been born with natal teeth). But from the moment a child's first baby teeth arrive, proper dental hygiene becomes vital. There are three major stages in a child's dental development, and parents need to be ready to face these challenges. Fortunately, there are unlikely to be any surprises when it comes to normal dental development. But still, forewarned is forearmed! So what do parents need to be aware of when it comes to their child's dental development?

Hello Baby Teeth

You should take your child to the dentist for their first checkup when their baby teeth begin to appear. This is generally when your child is between five and seven months of age. At this point, sucking on a pacifier can affect a baby's teeth, as can excessive thumb sucking. While not necessarily detrimental to the development of your child's teeth, they can affect the angle of growth. Your dentist will be able to tell you if this is likely to be an issue, and you can then look at methods for weaning your child off this behaviour. Your dentist will also be able to show you how to care for these emerging baby teeth, such as the best dental products for the job.

Goodbye Baby Teeth

At around six years of age, these baby teeth will begin to fall out of their own accord, leading to multiple visits from the Tooth Fairy. The tooth will fall out on its own, and allowing it to do so will minimise discomfort and bleeding. If there is excessive and ongoing bleeding when a tooth falls out, you might wish to take your child to an emergency dentist, like those at Dr David Young & Associates Dental Surgeons. The sharp edge of the tooth may have cut your child's gum as it fell out, and a dentist needs to assess any damage and staunch the bleeding as soon as possible. You are now entering a period known as mixed dentition, when your child has a mixture of baby and permanent teeth.

Hello Adult Teeth

With good dental hygiene, permanent teeth can last a lifetime. There are actually 32 permanent teeth, as opposed to 20 baby teeth. Regular dental visits will ensure that any issues such as tooth overcrowding or crooked teeth can be identified and rectified at an early stage. It's during these developmental years that a dentist may suggest orthodontics such as dental braces to ensure straight teeth. Your dentist will also want to check the status of your child's wisdom teeth, although these often don't make an appearance until the teenage years. Partially submerged wisdom teeth can often be left alone but will need to be removed if their growth causes pain.

Getting into the habit of good dental hygiene from the moment your child's teeth begin to appear will set them up for life. While dentists can work miracles with prosthetics, there's nothing like a set of healthy natural teeth that last a lifetime.