Losing Baby Teeth
By the time your child is 2 or 3 years old, he or she will have twenty baby teeth (primary teeth) present. Before you know it, they will reach another milestone of losing their first tooth! Your child will probably look forward to this and getting a visit from the tooth fairy! Your child’s teeth will fall out in the same order they came in, meaning the front teeth will be the first to fall out. Typically the lower front teeth will become loose around age 6, but this is an average and your child may lose their first tooth between ages 5 – 7. If your child is outside of this range, it is nothing to worry about. If you have any concerns, please book an appointment and we’d be happy to take a look at your child’s teeth!
What To Expect
Baby teeth loosen when the permanent teeth migrate towards them and dissolve the roots of the baby tooth. This is why when the tooth falls out there is only a tooth and no roots attached. Wiggling a tooth is okay once it’s loose, but make sure that they do not force the tooth out. It is important the tooth comes out naturally so the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. Usually the first eight teeth fall out by age 7 or 8.
Around the same time the first molars, also known as six year molars will grow into the empty space at the back of the mouth. These teeth do not replace any baby teeth and erupt through the gums similar to teething; therefore, some children may experience some minor irritation.
If a baby tooth is lost early due to trauma or severe decay, then it is important to hold this space until it is time for the adult tooth to erupt. The concern is that if you do not hold the space, usually with a “space maintainer”, the teeth behind the space will move forward. If this is allowed to happen the adult tooth will not have adequate space to come in and crowding will be inevitable.
Permanent teeth also look different from primary teeth. They are larger and more yellow in color relative to baby teeth. Your child will typically have 28 permanent adult teeth by the time they are a teenager and gain 4 more (wisdom teeth) between the age of 15 – 19.
It is important to note that it is possible for one or more adult teeth to not develop and the equivalent baby tooth does not end up coming out. In these cases it is important to keep that baby tooth very clean so that you can keep it for the rest of your life. The only way to assess if there is a missing tooth is to take an x-ray that will show what is below the surface.
Having a proper brushing and flossing routine is crucial, as is proper technique. During your child’s dental checkup, our friendly staff will review the proper technique with your child and ensure that they understand adequate frequency. It is important to ensure that your child’s toothbrush is replaced on a regular basis to ensure that it effective. When the bristles begin to spread, typically after 3 – 4 months, then it is time for a new brush. If we are concerned about the effectiveness of your child’s brushing technique we may recommend a disclosing solution/tablet that will give your child a visual aid towards improving and learning which areas are being missed.