At Lifetime Family Dental, we often start seeing children as young as one years old, or within six months after a child’s first tooth breaks through. It’s normal for parents to have questions when their kid’s baby teeth start falling out, or perhaps when their little one is behind the curve. Here are some top questions when it comes to children losing baby teeth:
What’s a Typical Timeline for Baby Teeth Falling Out?
Baby, or primary teeth, can start budding around six months old on the lower middle section of the gums and about two to four months later, they’re matched with their counterparts on top. By 33 months old all 20 baby teeth will generally have erupted and by age 12, the tooth fairy will have finished her job.
The timeline for baby teeth falling out depends largely on when they came in. Those teeth that came in first in the lower and upper middle sections, for example, are the first to go around age six or seven. Whereas the back molars, which come in around 23-33 months, won’t shed until the child is 10-12 years old. As a general rule, baby teeth fall out in the same order they erupted. If your child’s teeth are falling out of order, however, it is not necessarily a cause for concern. The more important factor is that they do fall out and are replaced with their permanent or adult teeth.
What if My Child’s Teeth are Falling Out Too Early or Too Late?
Not every child gains or loses teeth on the same Sunday afternoon. However, if a child loses a tooth prematurely, before the age of four for example, it is often due to an accident or tooth decay. This would be a good time to consult your dentist, as a spacer may be needed to reserve that space for its adult tooth and prevent future crowding as well as to ensure overall dental health.
If your child is a bit later to the party and still hasn’t lost a tooth by the age of eight or so—there may be absolutely nothing wrong, but an x-ray can show if there are perhaps some adult teeth missing that would otherwise be pushing the baby tooth loose. Sometimes, adult teeth are too crowded to come out, and orthodontic treatment may be needed.
To Pull or Not to Pull?
While there is something sort of nostalgic about tying a loose tooth to a doorknob and slamming the door—don’t do it. It can be unbearably frustrating as a child to have a wiggly tooth, but it’s important to be patient. Yanking can break the root of the tooth and leave the space vulnerable to infection. Similarly, if only part of a loose tooth has come out, be patient and don’t panic. Gently wiggle the remaining tooth until it’s ready to come out. If it’s especially sharp or stubborn, you can ease your mind by giving your dentist a call to see if a visit is warranted.
Once your child has lost his or her tooth, it is normal to feel some pain or discomfort. To aid in the healing process, you’ll want to have them rinse with some cool saltwater and use a little gauze to cover the socket. Encourage them not to spit, as this can start up the bleeding again. A cold, wet washcloth can be applied after bleeding has stopped to help ease pain or discomfort.
Give us a Call
Whether your child has just lost his or her first tooth, or is still hanging on to some as a teenager—give us a call at Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert at (480) 558-4331 if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to assess your child’s dental health needs.