Did you know there actually is a Tooth B? The traditional way to identify baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth is through alphabetical order. Typically a child will develop twenty baby teeth: Ten teeth on the upper arch and ten teeth on the lower arch. Tooth B is on the upper right.
At my office, Dr. Paul Caputo’s office, in Palm Harbor, Florida we are geared more towards an adult practice, however; we have had the opportunity to treat many children of our adult patients.
It’s important to establish good oral hygiene habits as early as possible. Before an infant/child begins to develop teeth, they have thin boney ridges covered by gum tissue and will “gum” their food. As their teeth begin developing the thin boney ridge begins to get thicker and more defined by bone growth. As permanent teeth form, the bone growth continues and the thin ridges become significantly thicker and denser.
But did you know that if you lose a permanent tooth, whether it is extracted, knocked out or you take it out yourself (ouch), the bone in that extraction site begins to thin out and return to an infantile like state? If several teeth are lost, especially if they are all in the same generalized area (lower left, upper right, etc.), that quadrant (area) of bone can become very thin.
To preserve an extraction site and keep the ridge from thinning, many times it is recommended that a bone graft procedure be performed. Most implant dentists will agree that bone grafts aid in the success of a dental implant.
If a permanent tooth is lost at an early age and the extraction site is not preserved by either a bone graft and/or implant it will continue to become thinner and weaker. If a bone graft is done, there is a limited amount of time left to place an implant so it is important to remember the bone graft is only a step toward a final result.
If an implant is not placed within a reasonable amount of time (preferably within 3 to 6 months), the bone where the graft was placed can begin to recede and thin out; resulting in a ridge or area too short or too narrow for an implant. If this happens, then you may not be able to get an implant as there is not enough sufficient bone structure to support an implant. This would be disheartening if you underwent the surgery and the expense of having a bone graft, only to have waited too long for the implant.
So, “Tooth B” sure that you don’t end up with thin ridges, plump up your brushing and flossing techniques to keep your teeth healthy and your ridges FAT. J
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A