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Everything You Need to Know About Healthy Teeth

At Loudoun Family Dental, we believe in improving dental health through education. It’s surprising how many people don’t know the basics about their own teeth. This lack of knowledge can lead to unhealthy dental hygiene. With a few simple facts and tips from our Madison dentists, you will learn more about your mouth and how to best take care of it!

Let’s go over the basics and get started on making your teeth healthier.


What Are Teeth?

Your teeth are mostly made from enamel, cementum, and dentin. These hard substances are almost bone-like, giving teeth their strength for chewing or tearing food. Enamel and dentin determine the color of your teeth, normally a bright, healthy white.

Inside each tooth is a pulp of connective tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. The pulp forms part of your tooth’s root system to keep your teeth set within your gums. The nerves are what allow you to sense the temperature of food or adjust pressure from chewing.

Types of Teeth

Everyone has two sets of teeth, the primary (deciduous) teeth in childhood and permanent teeth as adults. After 20 primary teeth fall out, adults have 32 permanent teeth. They are:

  • Incisors – 8 total
  • Canines – 4 total
  • Premolars – 8 total
  • Molars – 12 total (including wisdom teeth)

Incisors are used to initially cut up food as you eat while premolars and molars grind down while you chew. There are four quadrants in the mouth, upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left. Each quadrant has 2 incisors, 1 canine, 2 premolars, and 3 molars. The very last molar of each section is considered a wisdom tooth.

When Do Babies Start to Get Teeth?

Most babies begin teething around 6 months old. Rarely, neonatal teeth can be present from birth and are harmless. These primary teeth or “baby” teeth are not permanent and will eventually be replaced when the child is older. Since teething can be a stressful time for babies and their parents, special teething rings and dental medications may help alleviate the pain. The process begins with the main incisors and ends with the molars up to two or even three years of age.

As soon as your baby’s teeth start to emerge, it is important to care for their new teeth. Twice a year check-ups starting at the age of three are recommended by our Madison dentists so your child avoids preventable cavities and gum disease.

When Do Children Start to Lose Teeth?

Most children will begin naturally losing their primary or deciduous teeth around 6 years of age. Typically, all the permanent teeth will have finished growing in by age 12, though naturally there are exceptions. Regular visits to Loudoun Family Dental, your family dentist in Ashbur,n will keep track of which teeth your child has lost and how well the new ones are growing in.

As permanent teeth emerge, our dentists will be able to determine if your child will need corrective braces on their teeth. While many kids don’t want braces, they are important as they correct gaps, uneven bites, or crowding problems. Our Ashburn office offers comfortable Invisalign braces for children, teens, and adults for virtually invisible treatment.

When Do Adults Get Wisdom Teeth?

Once all of the permanent teeth have emerged, the only remaining teeth are a third set of molars known as wisdom teeth. These molars will usually appear during the late teens or early twenties, though there have been earlier and later eruptions.

Why Do Teeth Need to Be Removed?

There are many reasons unhealthy teeth need to be removed from your mouth. In the case of wisdom teeth, there usually is not enough room in the mouth for the molars to grow in straight. As a result, these teeth are impacted by the other molars and can lead to infection or inflammation in the mouth.

Other reasons for teeth to be pulled include general overcrowding not fixable by braces, extensive tooth decay, gum disease, and infection. Our Ashburn dental office will provide comprehensive dental care to help you avoid unnecessary teeth pulling by keeping your mouth healthy.