Milk Teeth, also called Baby teeth, are the cause of many sleepless nights. In this blog, Dentistry for Children focuses on “The Nightmare Just Before

Tooth Eruption,” soon to be a new movie from Tim Burton, who brought you “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Oops!  Now we don’t mean that. It’s not really true, but we sure got your attention.

Teething or the Eruption of the Milk Teeth Can Be a Very Painful Experience.

“The Night Before Tooth Eruption,” a common nightmare for Young Parents…

However, most parents agree that the Nightmare part of baby teeth or milk teeth as they erupt is true.

Teething might be too much of a nightmare even for a Tim Burton production—Just ask any Mom or Dad.

Chapter One:  Milk Teeth and Terror–Mommy and Daddy’s Dilemma

Here in Oviedo, Florida, we have discovered parents love to tell you their horrible nightmares about their baby’s first tooth eruption.

“At 2:00 AM, Anna (6 Months old) suddenly began screaming. We stumbled out of bed, tripped over the dog, and half fell into our baby’s room… Upon entering, we reassured ourselves that the room was not on fire and no monsters had let themselves in.

Of course, we checked Anna’s diapers. No, they were not wet or soiled.  But she was still crying hysterically and we didn’t know why. So naturally, we panicked.”

Chapter Two:  Baby Teeth, Milk Teeth, and Horror–Another Family Crisis

 In another part of the city, Ethyl and Johnny Walker were startled into wakefulness by the dawn cries of John Jr. (4 years old.)  It took no time at all for John Jr. to let everyone know his tooth hurt.

Recognizing swelling and a tiny cavity, Johnny Sr. tried to comfort the boy. He told him that the dentist would fix it. When asked, “How, he replied, “Well, they will pull it out, of course. It’s only a baby tooth. You’ll never miss it.” (We cringe.)

Baby or Milk Teeth Reserve the Proper Space For Permanent Teeth.

Arriving at the Pediatric Dentist’s Office, Johnny Walker Sr. told the doctor, “The tooth is really hurting the boy.  I guess you’ll have to pull it.” He was shocked to learn that the doctor wanted to treat the “milk tooth and crown it.

In a daze, the astonished father kept repeating, “But, it’s only a baby tooth.”

Dr. King to the Rescue:  We Do Cry over “Spilt” Milk Teeth

It is Vital to Properly Care For and Maintain Milk Teeth.

It’s never too early for a baby to learn good oral hygiene habits–Milk Teeth are like training wheels for the big bike!

Dr. King carefully and patiently explains to all our patients that care of a baby tooth is critical. Here at Dentistry for Children, not only do we dispel teething nightmares, but we also explain that care of those milk teeth or baby teeth is crucial. There are several reasons for our seriousness on this matter.

New Patients, New Parents, and Baby Teeth

This blog could well be called, “What New Parents Need to Know, Part One” or “Fearless Crisis Management”. This is the first of two blog articles in which we will provide the New Client and the new parents with much-needed information. In fact, It is entirely possible that some of this information might save an unnecessary, panicked ride to the emergency room.

Naturally, we are aware that many of Dr. King’s older patients may already be aware of some of this information. However, for newer clients, it could relieve and calm many fears.

Firstly, Let’s Check out Some Milk Teeth Facts

Your child’s baby teeth, no matter what you call them, will fall away by about the age of six. We call this process, “shedding” teeth. You see your child does not “lose” them. There is a proper, calculated, and natural time for each tiny milk tooth to shed.

As baby teeth disappear, permanent teeth replace them. After the age of six or so, deciduous teeth – also known as baby or primary teeth – are “shed.” Permanent teeth replace them. We all know this fact of life.

Portrait of miserable crowded permanent teeth–why? Because two “placeholder” milk teeth were removed before their time.

Life Lessons of Milk Teeth

However, there are some facts we do not realize behind the under-appreciated hero’s baby teeth. You might have heard us discuss this in a 2018 blog, but it’s time to review the short happy lives of baby teeth.

  1. The life cycle of deciduous teeth is from the time your baby is six months old until he or she achieves six years of age. But during that time, baby teeth take on some awesome, even excruciatingly difficult tasks. 
  2. Baby Teeth help your child learn critical Life Skills: Speaking, Chewing, and most importantly, creating the proper path for the eruption of the permanent teeth.

Milk Teeth in a Major Role:  Placeholders!

Beautiful Baby Teeth and good oral habits increase your child’s chances for healthy permanent teeth–for a lifetime. So, protect and cherish those milk teeth.

Yes, these tiny little teeth are the ultimate placeholders. They keep the red carpet of gums, bone, sockets, and blood in place for the permanent teeth. In a way, they reserve special “seats” for the all-important VIP’s to come, the very important permanent teeth. (Maybe we should call them VIT’s, “very important teeth!”)

Deciduous or Milk Teeth Vs. Permanent Teeth

The two sets of teeth the average human has over a lifetime are quite different in composition, structure, and number.  Here follows a little anatomy lesson, but we promise there will be a moral to the story, so keep on reading…

A Seasonal Dental Tip: Winter vacations mean family fun. But even holiday snow should not interrupt your child’s oral hygiene.

  1. The First Difference between Composition

Did you ever wonder why your baby’s teeth are so brightly white compared to the permanent ones?  The pearly white, bright enamel coatings of baby teeth are thinner than the enamel on permanent teeth.

You can really perceive this when a child has a mixed set of both permanent and baby. Permanent teeth appear to be more off-white, egg-shell, or yellowish. The thinner enamel makes it easier for the baby teeth to decay.  

“That is why we, at Dentistry for Children advocate regular visits and lots of fluoride for these thinly coated white beauties. That’s why we believe in building good oral hygiene habits from the earliest possible date. We used to say one year old, but now we are passing out tiny toothbrushes to 6-month-old babies, to begin building those oral hygiene habits from the very first tooth.”

Part Two: Coming Attractions

As Bugs Bunny used to say, “That’s all folks.”  In our next blog, “Baby Teeth Nightmares 2:  The Sequel” or “What New Parents Need to Know, Part Two,” we will discuss more on differences of baby teeth, structure, composition and other topics. Discover:

  • Misconceptions on baby’s Pearly Whites.
  • Recognizing signs of baby’s teething.
  • Simple and soothing teething home treatments.

Until then, Thank you for reading our Dentistry for Children’s blog.

Parting Words–Just for fun:

Since this blog began with a story based on an animated cartoon, here is a side note for those who remember Bugs Bunny: Mel Blanc the original creator placed in his will that his headstone should be inscribed, “That’s All Folks.” And today, those words are truly inscribed on his stone. You can view it on this online resource.