Keep The Tooth Fairy On Time: What You Need To Know About Your Child's Baby Teeth
Every child loses their baby teeth at some point, but how and when those teeth come out is more important than you might think. If you're not sure whether your child's baby teeth are moving along in a healthy way, it's good to understand what development should look like and what the potential complications are.
When Will My Child Lose Their First Tooth?
Children lose their baby teeth based on when they first started teething. Usually, the oldest tooth is the first to go, so keep an eye on the ones they grew in first. Normally, baby teeth start coming loose as early as age four or as late as age seven. If your child hasn't had any loose teeth by age 8, you should consult a pediatric dentist. There may be nothing wrong, but there's also a chance the adult teeth have become impacted and can't grow in on their own.
When teeth become loose, don't be alarmed if they take weeks to come out. Some loose teeth will fall out just days after first being wiggled, but others can stay in place for over a month. Daily tooth wiggling will help the root break away safely and speed up the process, but make sure your children avoid pulling or jerking on the old teeth. Regular flossing and brushing both speed up baby tooth loss and help to prevent infection.
What If A Baby Tooth Is Lost Early?
Baby teeth aren't permanent, but losing them before they're ready to come out can cause some permanent damage to the teeth and gums. Children often lose teeth in accidents during sports or horseplay, but responding to the injury quickly can help you prevent further harm. If your child has knocked out a tooth that wasn't previously loose, you should immediately seek out care from a pediatric dentist. This is especially important if the gums continue to bleed, since losing a tooth to trauma can sometimes cause injuries that require stitches to heal.
When a tooth is lost, the surrounding teeth lose the support it used to provide them. The longer a gap remains open, the easier it is for the teeth on either side of it to drift into the empty space, which blocks the adult tooth from coming in. To prevent this, dentists will place a temporary spacer in between your child's remaining teeth. Once the new adult tooth started growing in, the spacer can be taken back off.
When Will The Last Tooth Come Out?
The baby teeth usually finish coming out around the same time as the first molars start to come in. By age 12, children should typically be without any baby teeth. If your child still has baby teeth by this age, and they don't feel loose, it's possible that the surrounding adult teeth are providing enough pressure to keep the baby tooth in place. Braces or a retainer may fix this issue, or the baby tooth may by extracted.
In some cases, the molars may grow in slanted or sideways, which pushes the other teeth closer together and keeps them from erupting through the gums. This can make it appear as though your child's molars aren't growing in on time, but it can cause pain and damage to the other teeth if not fixed quickly enough. When baby teeth are overstaying their welcome and the molars don't appear to be growing in, the dentist may need to perform surgery to correct the faulty molars.
Losing a baby tooth too early or too late can cause oral health problems, but a good pediatric dentist should be able to prevent any serious permanent injury. If your child's oral development doesn't seem to be progressing like it should be, you can't go wrong with a professional appointment to detect any issues.