Saying Good-bye to Baby Teeth

when to expect baby teeth to fall out

One of the many milestones that parents anticipate as their children grow up is the loss of baby (primary) teeth.  It’s an exciting part of the transition from baby and toddler to becoming a “big kid”.  We’re often asked questions about what to expect.  While every child is different and no child follows an exact schedule, we’ve provided a few general guidelines:

What timeline can be expected?

Most children will have all of their 20 primary teeth around the age of 3. Some of these primary teeth stick around until your child becomes a teenager.  Although they will eventually fall out, it is very important that you and your child takes care of their primary teeth to prevent cavities, decay and gum disease.  Caring for primary teeth now will set the stage for healthy adult teeth when they are ready to grow in.

On average, the first tooth falls out when children are 6 years old and will usually fall out in the order they came in.  Around this time children will also begin to receive their first permanent molars at the back of their mouth where there is already a space waiting for them. Around the age of 8, you can generally expect the bottom 4 primary teeth (lower central and lateral incisors) and the top 4 primary teeth (upper central and lateral incisors) to be gone and permanent teeth to have taken their place. 

After these major changes, many parents experience about a one-two year break when their wallet can take a breather from dishing out tooth fairy cash.  By approximately 13 years old, the rest of your child’s primary teeth (canine/cuspid, first premolar, and second premolar) should have fallen out and the second (12 year old) molars will start to erupt.  The third molars (wisdom teeth) will come in around 17-21 and these are the last set of teeth to grow in.

Is special care needed?

When your child is starting to lose his or her teeth, they will want to wiggle and play with it. This is normal and encouraged.  The tooth will eventually fall out on its own.  However, you should instruct your child to not yank or put unnatural force on the tooth if it’s not quite ready to come out.  This can damage roots, harm sensitive gum tissue and even cause infection.  Losing a tooth is usually never painful.

What if my child is late in losing her teeth?

Certainly, the exact age of losing teeth differs for every child. It is to be expected that if your child received their baby teeth early and quickly, the same will happen for when they start to fall out and vice versa.  Again, all children are different and there is no need to be alarmed as long as their teeth are falling in the right order.  If you do have some concern, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

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