“My tooth is loose!” When a child’s tooth becomes loose for the first time, it represents a huge milestone in their lives. It is exciting, because losing a tooth is associated with the tooth fairy, and of course means that they are growing up. In other words, when your child loses their first tooth, it is almost like a rite of passage, or an honor to get a visit from the tooth fairy. As a parent, you will be able to cherish this moment in your child’s life forever. However, if it seems like their baby teeth are hanging on for too long, parents can become concerned that something might not be quite right.
The first set of your child’s baby teeth usually start to push through and grow in when they turn six months old. In addition to these primary teeth, also comes another 20 teeth, typically when they turn three years old. These 20 additional baby teeth usually fall out naturally, and often in the order that they grew in. A child’s “baby” teeth usually fall out between the ages of four and seven, depending on when their teeth started popping through, which could be early or late, depending on the child and their development. In other words, the lower teeth in the center are commonly the first ones to fall out, followed by the top two front teeth. Here is the average order of when baby teeth fall out:
- Age Six: The upper and lower incisors fall out
- Age Seven: The upper and lower lateral incisors fall out
- Age Ten: The upper molars and lower canines fall out
- Age Eleven: The lower molars fall out
- Age Twelve: The upper canines and upper/lower molars fall out
Why don’t Teeth Fall Out Sometimes?
A common question asked at the dentist by parents is, what happens if my child’s baby teeth are not falling out when they normally should, or even at all? As mentioned before, a child usually starts losing their teeth at age four, but it is natural and common that some children do lose their teeth at ages seven and eight, but every child is different. You may notice a small period between your child’s baby teeth falling out and their adult teeth growing in, but usually that wait period is normal. Therefore, it is beneficial and smart to schedule a consultation with your dentist to discuss if the rate your child’s teeth are falling out is normal. They will assess your child’s case by doing X-rays and an exam, and be able to administer the right form of treatment.
Losing baby teeth is a process that makes room for adult teeth to grow in place. For some kids, permanent teeth erupt before the primary ones fall out. This is what dentists call “shark’s teeth.” Dentists see common cases like this all the time, and it’s one of the main reasons why baby teeth don’t fall out when they normally should. This is most common with the two lower front teeth around age six and upper back molars around age eleven.
In a normal case, the root of the baby tooth usually dissolves, causing the tooth to become extremely loose and fall out to make room for the permanent tooth to grow in its place. When a child comes to the dentist with a case of “shark teeth,” their permanent teeth does not have enough room to grow in, and therefore, grows behind the baby tooth, stopping it from being able to fall out. When children have “shark” teeth, the dentists at Dedicated Dental will need to do a procedure to remove the baby tooth so the permanent tooth can move up, and grow into the correct position. As you know, teeth often come in pairs. So, if one of the pairs of teeth does not come in correctly, then it is likely the other ones won’t either. After the procedure, your child will still be able to put their teeth under the pillow for the tooth fairy.
Even though part of your job as a parent is to worry and care for your child unconditionally, there is really nothing to worry about regarding the loss of your child’s teeth. This is a completely natural process that everyone goes through. As a parent, even before their baby teeth fall out, it is a good time and idea to educate and help your child know the importance of good oral health, and give them good hygiene tips to prevent the loss of their new adult teeth.