Do Baby Teeth Have Roots?
Yes, baby teeth have their own set of roots, similar to adult teeth. The teeth are located beneath the gums, waiting patiently for their eruption. After making their presence known, the roots firmly attach to the jawbone, providing a strong grip. Typically, we first see these tiny pearls around the age of six months. It is important to mention that humans develop a total of 20 baby teeth, which will later be replaced by 32 adult teeth. Around the age of 6 or 7, children typically experience the natural process of their baby teeth loosening and falling out, making way for their adult teeth to come in. As the adult teeth erupt, they become securely anchored in the jawbone through their roots.
An in-depth look at primary teeth roots
Primary teeth, also known as deciduous or milk teeth, are the first set of teeth that appear in young individuals. The teeth have multiple functions, including chewing food, speaking properly, and creating space for the adult teeth growing underneath the gums. Infants usually start getting their first set of teeth around 6 to 12 months of age, and by the time they’re about 3 years old, they should have all 20 primary teeth.
Baby teeth are held in place by roots in the jawbone, similar to permanent teeth. The roots start to grow when the tooth’s crown forms in the jaw. After the crown is formed, the root continues to grow and develop as the tooth prepares to come out of the gum line.
The length of baby tooth roots varies, usually ranging from .5 to 1.5 inches. Anterior teeth typically have shorter roots compared to posterior molars, which tend to possess longer roots. The roots of teeth consist of pulp tissue internally and dentin externally, and are covered by a substance called cementum, which serves as a protective layer over the dentin.
The cementum has an important function in absorbing and facilitating the shedding of primary teeth at the appropriate time. This process is essential for the development of permanent teeth as it applies pressure from below to ensure a seamless transition.
What Happens to the Baby Tooth Root?
Baby teeth serve two important functions: they help keep your child’s primary teeth in place until their permanent teeth come in. Additionally, they function as temporary placeholders in the oral cavity, allowing space for the permanent teeth to properly come in.
When permanent teeth start coming in, there is no longer a need for dental devices that hold space. If you have ever observed a baby tooth naturally falling out, you would observe that the root is never attached. Typically, the root of a tooth dissolves before the tooth fairy has a chance to collect it.
Exfoliation is a natural process in which a child’s teeth gradually loosen and become wiggly. This term accurately describes the process that occurs within a child’s mouth, where the root of a baby tooth undergoes a transformation, although it is often associated by adults with pore clearance or sloughing off dead skin.
Exfoliation happens when the new adult tooth comes in and pushes against the baby tooth. In the normal process, the adult tooth’s base is usually connected to the root of the baby tooth, causing the baby tooth’s roots to dissolve due to the new adult tooth.
The tooth becomes unstable as its root weakens over time, resulting in a slight trembling. When the root completely dissolves, the tooth eventually falls out.
After baby teeth are shed, they commonly have a rough or uneven appearance, primarily due to the connection point of the root. The exfoliation process is effective, but does not typically result in a completely smooth surface.
Caring for Baby Teeth
It is important to develop good oral hygiene habits from a young age in order to maintain a healthy smile. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides helpful recommendations and information for ensuring your baby’s dental health:
- During pregnancy, it is important to prioritize maintaining good oral hygiene.
- Begin a routine for your baby’s gum and teeth care as early as possible.
- Do not give your baby any bottles or nourishment while they are in bed.
- Avoid using a bottle as a pacifier.
- Make sure that the water your child drinks contains fluoride.
- Encouraged to introduce their child to using a regular cup as soon as possible.
- Make sure to provide water to keep them hydrated whenever they feel thirsty.
- Monitor and manage your child’s consumption of sugary and sticky foods in their diet.
- It is recommended to wait until your child is one year old before giving them juice.
- Take your child to see a dentist before they reach the age of 1.
Once your child’s teeth start coming in, it’s important to act right away. By implementing an early oral care routine, promoting a balanced diet, and using sensible parental instincts, parents can significantly contribute to their child’s dental well-being. Ultimately, this is very important for their oral health overall.