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Tooth care

32 basic facts about teeth and gums - Q14 to Q18

Q14. Does filling primary teeth weaken permanent teeth?

No. Careful operations on the first teeth cause no harmful reaction in the second set.

Q15. Should a primary tooth that is lost too soon be replaced with a 'space maintainer' (see illustration)?
Space maintainer

Yes. Otherwise, the vacant space tends to close up. If a 'space maintainer' is inserted, it will preserve the space for the permanent tooth.

Q16. If a child's primary teeth are decayed, irregular, or poorly formed will its permanent teeth also be faulty?

Not necessarily, but an infected primary tooth may affect the developing permanent tooth. Also premature loss of primary teeth may cause the permanent teeth to erupt out of position or become so affected that they fail to erupt at all.

Q17. What should you do if your child accidentally breaks or cracks a tooth?

Take the child to the dentist immediately. The dentist will probably make an X-ray examination and then place medicated cement over the sensitive part of the fractured tooth or, may smoothen the rough edges of the break. If it is a serious fracture, the dentist may place a band or a crown over the tooth to protect it. If the tooth is knocked out, do not clean the tooth but wrap it in a wet cloth or place it in water. Then take the child and the tooth to the dentist as quickly as possible. In many cases, it is possible to re-attach the tooth to the jaw so that it functions normally.

Q18. What harm can irregular or malformed permanent teeth do to a child and what should be done about it?
Irregular or malformed permanent teeth

Irregular or malformed permanent teeth can be a hindrance to brushing which may lead to formation of Tartar on the teeth, and finally, to tooth decay and gum disease. They also interfere with chewing, good speech habits and appearance. Consult your dentist for advice, who will recommend the necessary orthodontic treatment or a minor surgical operation.

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