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Often overlooked the deciduous dentition plays a critical role in a child's development.

Many parents overlook the importance of the primary dentition because "they are going to fall out". What we fail to realize is the critical functions that "baby" teeth perform. Foods have to be chewed properly in order to be digested efficiently. If their teeth are hurting or missing this process is impaired and therefore can have such side effects as growth issues. In the same token chewing foods efficiently help in exercising the jaw muscles. Like any muscles in our body if we don't exercise them they don't develop and in the case of the facial muscles this can lead to underdevelopment of the jawbone. This in turn can affect facial contours and the eruption of the permanent dentition.

The development of speech which plays a primary role in early social interactions and success in school is also affected by the primary dentition as well. Missing teeth can make it difficult for the tongue and lips to align correctly in the process of forming words.

Your child's primary dentition must last between five to twelve years old in order to properly complete all of its functions and set the stage for the eruption of the permanent dentition. Always remember teeth are a critical part of a persons nutritional, social and physical development and "baby" teeth are a critical part of this process.

Early childhood caries is a major health concern that continues to negatively affect the oral health of infants and children today. Dental caries is a chronic disease that in children is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Even with caries prevalence declining in the permanent dentition, decay prevalence in primary teeth is on the rise. Approximately 40% of children have dental caries by the age of five, and 8% of two year old children have some form of decay or previous restoration(s). Left untreated, carious lesions can lead to expensive treatment, disruption of growth and development, pain, and life threatening infections.

Repeated exposure to fermentable carbohydrates lowers pH intra-orally for prolonged periods of time and thus increases the risk of caries.Therefore repetitive consumption of any liquid containing fermentable carbohydrates from a bottle or sippy cup and frequent snacking should be avoided.Of particular concern is the significant risk associated with feedings while the child is asleep due to a reduction in salivary flow. Feeding while the child is asleep allows any food or liquid present in the mouth to be in prolonged contact with tooth structure. Never allow a little to sleep with a bottle containing milk or juice.

10 year old patient that has had constant dental care since 4 years old including treatment for decay. At routine checkup thanks to a panoramic xray the two maxillary canines that had not errupted where found to be impacted.

Dental decay diagnosed thanks to a routine examination and dental xrays. Succesful treatment will allow for a healthier transition into the permanent dentition.

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