Most children’s baby teeth start to appear at about the age of six months. Over time, they fall out to make way for adult, or permanent, teeth. By 21, all 32 of these teeth should be in place to make a smile complete. 

But sometimes  there isn’t enough room for adult teeth in the mouth — and if left untreated, this can lead to problems, such as a crooked smile. 

That’s why at Longworth Dental, we encourage you to bring your child in to our office for an early checkup. 

By taking a close look at your child’s smile, we will see if baby teeth are impeding adult teeth from growing properly. Baby teeth play an important role in shaping a future smile — they save a spot for adult teeth. If they fall out prematurely due to accident or disease, that space may be jeopardized, making it challenging for adult teeth to emerge as they should. 

Baby teeth are needed to chew foods, but they’re also critical in giving the face its balanced appearance and the development of clear speech. If they fall out too late, it can also cause trouble. An adult tooth can grow in behind a baby tooth that hasn’t yet shed, resulting in two rows of teeth, or “shark’s teeth.” Clear signs of this condition are: abnormally-shaped adult teeth, pain around a baby tooth on its way out, and no loss of baby teeth by the age of seven. 

Some of the other clear signs of tooth eruption issues are bite problems (called malocclusion), and impacted teeth. 

During a thorough exam, we will make sure adult teeth have the room they need and look for any issues that could affect your child’s smile. We will provide a referral to an orthodontist if necessary. In most cases, early treatment can be less invasive and complex … and it can help your child avoid braces altogether. 

If you have concerns about the development of your child’s smile, we encourage you to get in touch to schedule an appointment right away. Let’s intercept more-extensive treatment down the road!