The age at which your child’s first tooth will come in and fall out varies from person to person, even within the same family. Some children have all their permanent teeth by the time they are 7 or 8 years old, while others do not even start losing them until they are five or six.
Your dentist can help determine when your baby’s first tooth should appear. They will examine your child’s mouth and gums for signs of decay or gum disease and take X-rays if necessary.
Why do we have two sets of teeth?
When babies are born, they have 20 teeth that look like miniature versions of adult teeth. These primary teeth, also known as deciduous teeth or “baby teeth,” usually fall out between ages 6 and 12. After that, new teeth begin growing to fill the holes and replace the older ones.
Primary teeth usually fall out easily on their own. If they don’t fall out on their own, a dentist can extract them.
Adult teeth are stronger than baby teeth, and they also grow more slowly. This means it takes longer for them to erupt through the gums and become visible. These permanent teeth are necessary because they support the jawbone and help us chew food properly.
At what age should you expect a child’s teeth to erupt and to fall out?
Most babies get their first set of baby teeth around three months of age. However, some babies may begin to get their first tooth as early as four weeks after birth, and others wait until they are 5 or 6 months old before they get their first tooth.
Children will begin to lose their baby teeth around 5 or 6 years old, but some children won’t start to lose their teeth until 7 years of age. At this point, the teeth begin to come loose in order to make room for their permanent teeth to come in.
If they fall out by natural causes, teeth are normally lost in the order they erupt.
The lower central incisors are often the first teeth to appear, so they are usually the first to come loose. Once the lower central incisors have come loose, the upper central incisors come out. This can be expected around the age of 6.
The lateral incisors are next to appear and the next to be lost. Typically, the upper lateral incisors will be lost first and then the lower. Incisors are typically lost between the age of 6 and 7.
Molar teeth can be slightly painful for some children when coming in, but this is not the case when they fall out. Primary molars, also known as first molars, are not usually painful when replaced. Molars are shed between the ages of 9 and 11.
Second Molars and Canines
The last teeth to fall out are the canines and the second molars. The canine teeth are lost between 9 and 12 years old, and the primary second molars are typically shed between the ages of 10 and 12.
Once your child reaches the age of 13, they should have a full set of permanent adult teeth. It is important to remember that there are no hard and fast rules about how long each stage lasts. Their mouth and jaws will also grow as your child grows to accommodate the permanent teeth. Your pediatric dentist can tell you if any of your child’s teeth are missing or crowded.
What should parents do when they notice a loose tooth?
Losing teeth can be an exciting time, especially if you introduce fun concepts like the tooth fairy. For others, it can be a little upsetting, as something that they thought was permanent is now gone! It’s also not uncommon for children to experience a little pain or discomfort when they lose a tooth.
When you notice a tooth is loose, keep calm and explain to your child what is happening.
The sensation is new to them, and while they may want to avoid brushing around the tooth, this is not recommended. Proper dental care and oral hygiene are necessary to avoid irritation and inflammation of the gum tissue and tooth decay. It’s also important to ensure they are not vigorously brushing the tooth or the gap left behind.
Wiggling with a clean finger is okay. There is no need to pull it out or contact your dentist during this period of time unless it is causing serious pain or discomfort. Most often, baby teeth will eventually fall out on their own.
Delayed Tooth Loss
If a child between 8 and 10 years old has not started losing their baby teeth, parents may begin to worry. Usually, this is not problematic, but it is best to consult a dentist or orthodontist. They can perform an oral exam and take X-rays to determine if there are underlying problems.
Parents should not be alarmed about delayed tooth loss unless the following situations arise:
- Crowding: If two or more adjacent teeth are overlapping, this can cause crowding. Crowded teeth can lead to other issues, such as crooked bite, malocclusion (misalignment), and periodontal disease. These conditions can affect speech development and overall oral health.
- Permanent Teeth are Erupting in the Same Spot: Typically, baby teeth are pushed out of place by adult teeth. If permanent teeth begin to erupt and the baby tooth is not pushed out, you may see two teeth in the same location. In this case, you should contact your dentist in order to have the primary tooth extracted.
- Additional Teeth: If there is not enough space for adult teeth to emerge, it can hinder the natural growth process of the jawbone and nearby teeth. In some cases, the jawbone does not fully develop until after the first few sets of permanent teeth have erupted. A pediatric dentist, periodontist, or orthodontist can identify if there is a critical dental problem.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s baby teeth, schedule a dental visit with one of our experienced doctors today!