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Milk teeth

Milk teeth

Milk Teeth, also called temporary teeth, are those that remain for a limited time in the mouth until they are replaced by definitive or permanent teeth and have a whiter color than the latter. They constitute a total of twenty teeth, ten in the upper or maxillary arch and another ten in the mandible or inferior. Four incisors, two canines or fangs and four molars are placed in each dental arch.

” Milk teeth begin to fall around six years old until around twelve, ” explains Paola Beltri Orta, president of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Dentistry (SEOP). This replacement is a physiological process that usually begins with the lower incisors and that is due to the disappearance of the roots of the teeth, that is, they have been reabsorbed. Therefore, when losing them, the teeth lose their support and end up falling.

Hygiene measures

When the Milk Teeth begin to move, it is necessary to continue with their normal use, “some children stop eating or chewing with them, affecting their normal process of exfoliation”, exemplifies Beltri, to which he adds that ” the belief of that if you move a tooth of milk the final one will be badly placed “. In spite of this, it is recommended that when the tooth is very mobile, the parents help it to detach. The oral hygiene measures after the fall have to follow the cleaning routine that was carried out before the tooth loss . Despite the fact that a sacred is originated, it does not require any extraordinary measure, since the spill will cease spontaneously.

When to see a specialist

However, a tooth can fall prematurely due to trauma, “in which case it will be lost with part of its root,” says the expert. If this should happen, a child dentist or pediatric dentist should be seen, who, depending on the type of injury, will indicate to the child and those responsible what measures they must take to protect that tooth and thus avoid the possibility of infection and involvement of the dental nerve.

Another of the occasions in which to go to a specialist is the most appropriate option is in the case that the child presents a caries in the milk tooth, since it can move faster and get to the nerve earlier , being about teeth of smaller size and with thinner enamel and dentin layers. “If this infection is not treated properly it could cause pain, the appearance of phlegmon and could even affect the final tooth,” says Beltri.

Differences to permanent teeth

While the teeth of milk constitute a total of 20 teeth, the definitive ones are 32, including the wisdom teeth.

The expert indicates the distinction, in terms of number, between the temporary and permanent teeth:

In the temporary dentition there are three groups of teeth:

– The incisor group (four incisors in the maxilla and four in the mandible)

– The canine group or fangs (two in each dental arch).

– The molar group (four molars in each dental arch).

In the permanent dentition there are:

– Four incisors.

– Two canines.

– Four premolars (replace the four temporary molars).

– Six permanent molars.

Other differences are:

  • The size: the milk teeth have a smaller size than the final ones.
  • The layers of hard tissue that make up the tooth: the permanent teeth have a thicker layer than the temporary ones, since the latter have a smaller thickness. “These layers of hard tissue, are less resistant in milk teeth, so they wear out over time,” explains the president of the SEOP.
  • The roots of the teeth: the milk teeth have shorter roots and, in addition, they are reabsorbed, that is to say they end up disappearing, which causes the loss of the same.

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Milk teeth


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