Primary (baby) teeth play an important role in a child’s development. Healthy primary teeth are important for the following reasons:
- They allow a child to chew food properly and maintain good nutrition
- They guide proper development of permanent (adult) teeth
- They affect the proper development of the jaws
- They enable clear pronunciation and speech habits
- They give a child a positive self-image.
Because primary teeth guide permanent teeth into place, a child who doesn’t have baby teeth or who loses them too soon may need a space maintainer. A space maintainer is used to used to keep the normal gaps between teeth open. Without a space maintainer, the nearby baby teeth may tilt toward the empty space and cause primary teeth to come in crooked.
Missing teeth should always be discussed with your family dentist.
You should also discuss the way your child cares for his or her baby teeth with your dentist, because it influences how he or she will care for his or her primary teeth.