“Mommy, my tooth is loose!” is a phrase parents both dread and welcome. Indeed, this bittersweet milestone means your child is growing up, officially leaving the preschool years behind.
But since the process can also be a little bit scary for kids, assure them that it’s a natural process that everyone goes through. Here are some things that will help you explain the process to your child.
Why do kids lose their baby teeth?
Children lose their baby teeth to make room for permanent teeth, which continue to come in until your child is a late teen. The wisdom teeth, or third molars, are typically the last teeth to erupt.
Your child will have 20 teeth by the time he or she is three years old. The baby teeth typically start getting loose as the root dissolves and the permanent teeth start pushing up from underneath. They usually fall out in the same order they came in. For the grand majority of kids, the bottom two center incisors are the first to come in and the first to fall out. The top two incisors usually follow.
Teeth usually start falling out around the age of six, though some kids may be as young as four. If your child’s teeth start getting loose much before four, consult your dentist. Conversely, it’s not all that unusual for a child to have not lost a tooth by the age of seven or even eight. This is usually not a problem, but you should consult your dentist to be sure.
What happens when a tooth becomes loose?
When your child notices his tooth is loose, encourage him to gently wiggle it using his tongue or finger. Don’t on yank the tooth or pull it forcefully. Wait until it’s ready to fall out on its own. Pulling a tooth out makes its root vulnerable to infection and could damage the gum. Remember, it may take several months for a tooth to come out, even with a good amount of wiggling and twisting. If a tooth simply won’t come out, your dentist may need to provide assistance. This is rarely required through.
Reassure your child that losing a baby tooth will not hurt. It will likely bleed a little. Encourage your child to rinse his or her mouth with water. When the space opens up, it will likely feel strange for a few hours. But your child will quickly become accustomed to the empty space.
Timeline for losing teeth
While the first teeth usually come out around age six, the rest of the baby teeth typically fall out on a schedule, too.
- The upper and lower lateral incisors are lost between ages 7 and 8.
- The upper and lower canines are lost between ages 9 and 12.
- The upper and lower first molars are lost between ages 9 and 11.
- The upper and lower second molars are lost between 10 and 12.
Other common questions
What if my child swallows the tooth?
Children often swallow baby teeth, especially the first one, as they may not have realized it was loose in the first place. If this happens, don’t worry! There’s no harm done. Just write a note to the tooth fairy explaining the situation. She’ll understand.
Why do the permanent teeth look so big?
Permanent teeth will look bigger and less white when compared to baby teeth. Remember, your child’s head will continue to grow, her teeth won’t. Eventually, her teeth won’t look too big for her mouth!
What are shark’s teeth?
Occasionally, a child’s permanent teeth will come in before the baby teeth fall out. This causes a double row of teeth, called shark’s teeth. The permanent teeth will push the baby teeth out of the way within a few weeks. If the double row lasts longer than three months, consult your dentist.
If you have more questions about losing baby teeth, contact our office at (407) 628-2286 in Maitland or (407) 593-8900 in St. Cloud.