Dr. Neil Dean is a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist proudly serving the McKinney Community. Dr. Dean is committed to McKinney's youth, so he's agreed to answer a few questions about children’s oral care.
Q: What is a common question you get from parents of young children?
A: “Those are just baby teeth. I don’t want to fix them – aren’t they just going to fall out anyway?”
Let me first say that this is a perfectly reasonable question. However, the truth of the matter is that Mother Nature gave children a set of baby teeth for many important reasons. My role as a pediatric dentist is to educate parents about what those reasons are and how maintaining healthy baby teeth plays a critical role in a child’s oral development.
Seven reasons why baby teeth are important:
• Cavities in baby teeth can cause extreme pain and potentially life-threatening infection. In fact, dental pain is the most common reason that children miss school in Texas.
• Baby teeth help children chew and digest their food. Children need their nutrition to grow and chewing is an important first step in the digestion process.
• Baby teeth help the upper and lower jaw to grow and develop properly.
• These teeth hold space within the jaw for the permanent teeth to erupt later.
• Baby teeth contribute to normal facial development.
• Baby teeth help with the ability to make certain sounds and the development of speech.
• Healthy baby teeth create a beautiful, natural smile!
when caring for their teeth,
like brushing and flossing,
lead to good habits and hygiene
when the permanent teeth begin
erupting around the age of six.
Q: At what age should children begin their dental visits?
A: To get your child started off on the right foot, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a first dental visit at age 1. At the first visit, a dentist will usually perform an examination, address any areas of concern and demonstrate good tooth brushing technique.
Together, with all parties involved – parents, children and dentist – we can give your child a healthy, beautiful smile!