Losing baby teeth is a big milestone. It signifies your child’s growth, and that first visit from the Tooth Fairy can be loads of fun for you and your child. Many parents have a lot of questions when it comes to this special moment. When do kids lose their teeth? Which teeth will be the first to go? When do kids stop losing teeth? This simple guide will answer all of these questions and more.
What Age Do Kids Lose Teeth?
Every child is different when it comes to losing their teeth. On average, kids usually lose their first baby tooth between the ages of 6 and 7. However, the earlier a child got their first tooth, the younger they tend to be when their first tooth falls out.
Some kids can lose their first tooth at as young as 4 or 5 years old if their first baby tooth popped up around three or four months of age. If your child did not sprout their first tooth until closer to their first birthday, it would not be uncommon for their first baby tooth to fall out when they are around 7 or 8 years old.
If by chance your child loses a tooth before they turn 4, or they have not yet lost one by the time they turn 8, it’s a good idea to consult with their dentist. While it could be that their teeth are developing at a slower or faster rate than average, it is important to make sure that everything is okay.
Which Teeth Do Kids Lose?
Generally, the first baby teeth to come in are the first ones in line to fall out to make room for their adult versions. In most cases, the front teeth on the bottom — the lower central incisors — are the most common to make their appearance when a baby gets their first teeth. These are usually the first baby teeth to go.
The next baby teeth kids typically lose after their front bottom teeth are the second teeth from the middle on the bottom, also called the bottom lateral incisors, or the top front teeth — the top central incisors. In all, your child will probably lose up to 8 teeth over the course of two years. These include the four front teeth on the top and the four front teeth on the bottom.
After all of the incisors have fallen out and have begun to be replaced by their adult versions, the bottom canines or their first baby molars will be the next teeth to fall out. This process generally happens over the span of two to three years. The last set of baby teeth you can expect your child to lose will likely be their top canines or second set of molars.
The majority of kids lose their last baby teeth by age 12, although it is not uncommon for them to all be gone by age 10.
Remember, it’s not uncommon for children to lose their teeth in a different order. There are a lot of variations in which kids can lose their baby teeth. However, you should always contact your child’s dentist if you have any questions or concerns.
How to Handle Loose Baby Teeth
While some kids may be excited about losing their first baby tooth, others may be a little more anxious. Help your child feel at ease by reassuring them it is completely normal for baby teeth to fall out to make room for new, beautiful grown-up teeth. Make sure they understand that it will not hurt. Telling your child about the Tooth Fairy can also make the process exciting.
You should never pull a baby tooth that is only slightly loose or does not appear ready to come out the whole way. Pulling a tooth early can lead to pain and discomfort for your child. Instead, encourage your child to gently wiggle their loose baby tooth if it seems to be bothering them. This movement will help the baby tooth wiggle its way out without causing pain.
As the baby tooth continues to push its way out, some discomfort could come along with eating. Encourage your child to chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where their loose tooth is to help prevent any soreness.
Some kids may find that brushing a loose baby tooth can be uncomfortable. It’s still important to make sure to gently clean that area to prevent gingivitis and gum infections. If your child is still experiencing some pain with losing baby teeth, over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help.
What if Permanent Teeth Don’t Grow in After Losing Baby Teeth?
A baby tooth does not typically fall out until a permanent, adult tooth pushes it out so it can take its place. When an adult tooth comes in, the roots of the baby tooth generally dissolve. As a result, your child’s baby teeth will fall out on their own without discomfort. That said, kids do sometimes lose their baby teeth before the adult replacements are ready due to reasons like injury or tooth decay.
The early loss of a baby tooth can be problematic if not taken care of. Baby teeth actually act as a guide for the adult teeth as they settle in. If a baby tooth is lost before the adult tooth has the chance to develop under it, other teeth can shift into the empty space. Other alignment issues can also occur when the adult tooth finally tries to come through.
If your child loses a baby tooth early, talk to your dentist. They may recommend dental spacers or space maintainers to hold the space for the adult tooth to come in without any issues. Spacers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors for kids to choose from.
What Happens if Your Child Swallows Their Tooth?
Some parents may be concerned about their child swallowing their tooth. The good news is that there’s no reason to worry. If your child accidentally swallows their tooth, it will simply pass through their body like everything else.
If You Have Questions About Your Child’s Dental Health, Contact Us Today!
Family Dentistry of New Jersey is dedicated to providing our patients with friendly, professional services. We want you and your children to feel confident with your smiles. Our dentists have a wide range of knowledge and experience and will do their best to make you feel at ease during every visit. Contact us today to learn about the many services we have to offer.