Why do we grow temporary baby teeth first and then permanent teeth?

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    Why do we grow temporary baby teeth first and then permanent teeth?


    This is an excellent question and to understand the answer to this fully, first you have to know the basic structure of the teeth, as well as the growth of the head and neck region from birth to adulthood.

    The tooth is basically composed of two types of tissues:
    Structures forming the tooth itself- enamel, dentine, pulp and cementum.
    Investing tissues around the tooth- gingiva, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone.

    Of these tissues, the enamel, dentine and cementum are hard tissues, which encase the soft pulp. Note that there are no cells in the enamel and unlike the bone cannot grow or be repaired once damaged.

    Therefore, the tooth once formed cannot change in size. But from infancy to adulthood, the body, and with it the structures around the teeth, i.e the maxilla and mandible continue to grow. This leads to increased space in the jaws which cannot be filled by existing teeth.

    To make use of the new space formed due to growth of the jaws, the decidious teeth are resorbed, and fall off, and new teeth, bigger in size, which will occupy the increased space erupt.

    Therefore, we have two sets of teeth- the decidious teeth and succeedaneous teeth. Humans have two sets of teeth and are therefore also known as diphiodonts.

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