The appearance of the baby’s first tooth causes joy and also anxiety in the family; the baby does not sleep well, he/she is uneasy and dribbles a lot. The first thing we see is that the gum gets bigger because the tooth wants to erupt, the baby takes things to the mouth and wants to bite causing ischaemia (no circulation of blood), thus alleviating the pain.
We must give the baby something to bite, hard foods, biscuits, toasts and analgesics indicated by the professional (the gums must not be cut to soothe the pain unless otherwise indicated by the odontologist).
These teeth which erupt are called milk teeth (dens lacteus) or temporary teeth; they are twenty, ten in the upper maxilla and ten in the lower maxillar.
The first tooth to appear is the lower central incisor around the sixth month of life, and the last one is the second molar at the age of 24 months.
You should not worry if a tooth erupts or does not erupt before the time indicated; it is not a mathematical rule, but statistical.
The rechanging of the temporary teeth starts approximately between the sixth and seventh year of age.
The child often gets frightened when his/her teeth get loose and is upset because of his/her loss.
We, parents, must explain them that teeth move and will eventually fall because others, bigger, stronger and nicer ones, want to erupt to occupy that place.
With this simple explanation we make them get rid of their anguish. The child must be “rewarded”, not necessarily with a toy or sweets, a sincere congratulation should be encouraging enough, a kiss, a tender touch, this is of great importance to the child.
We should give real importance to primary teeth because they fulfil specific functions, for instance, mastication, phonetic function, aesthetic function and the most important thing is that they keep the place for the ones which are permanent.
They are twenty eight, 14 in the upper maxilla and 14 in the lower one.
The first tooth to erupt is the first permanent molar, which occurs at the age of six, and it appears without other teeth falling after the second temporary molars. We have to control that the child reaches that zone with the toothbrush.
The last ones to appear are the canine teeth and the second molars around the age of 13; we do not include the third molar or wisdom tooth because it tends to disappear due to a natural mechanism since it serves no purpose in the mouth.
Encourage the child to brush the teeth after eacha meal.
autor: Dr Sergio Archimede (Pediodontist)