What are Primary Teeth and Why are Primary Teeth so Important

Child learning to brush teeth on model

What are Primary Teeth

Primary teeth are the official dental term for baby teeth. Primary teeth can also be called milk teeth and deciduous teeth. These are the first set of teeth that come in for a child and are the precursors the permanent adult teeth that come in during a child’s teen years.

Baby teeth are not exactly the same as adult teeth. The lifespan of primary teeth are from 6 months to 5 and a half years. There also will be 20 baby teeth that come in, while for adults they will in total 32 adult teeth come in.

Difference between Primary and Permanent Teeth

Characteristic differences of primary teeth include the fact that the first set of teeth are the shorter clinical crowns and thinner layer of enamel. The roots of primary teeth are also shorter and thinner, which allow for them to fall out when it is time for the adult teeth to start coming in.

If you want some easy ways to spot whether or not a tooth is a baby or primary teeth. Baby teeth tend to have a whiter color than adult teeth, which tend to have a shade of yellow. In addition, permanent teeth have what we call mammeleons. This is a fancy term for bumps on the edge of the teeth. Primary teeth have a smooth finish on the ends.

Once the tooth comes out and you want to be sure whether or not the tooth is permanent or a baby tooth you can look at the size. Primary teeth tend to much smaller in size, while permanent teeth have much larger roots that increase their size dramatically.

Why are Primary Teeth Important?

It can be easy to think that the health of primary teeth shouldn’t matter. Their going to fall out anyways right?

Nope, sorry it’s not that easy.

Having a healthy set of baby teeth will help your child learn to speak properly without any problems forming words and vowels. Also, their baby teeth will be the first set of tools that will help them eat and chew food. Repeated issues with their teeth can cause setbacks in eating and speaking, so it’s important to ensure that the primary teeth are all healthy and strong.

There are also far reaching consequences of primary teeth. Primary teeth set up and hold the position for permanent, adult, teeth to come in. If primary teeth fall out too early, it can cause issues and lead to crowding and future orthodontic issues. This can lead to children who otherwise didn’t need braces, to engage in orthodontic treatment. It can also compound orthodontic treatment from basic to complex. Call our Roswell Pediatric Dentist for more information.