Pediatric Dentistry: Dealing With Your Child Losing Their First Teeth

Losing the first set of teeth that a child grows can be a monumental occasion for both children and their parents.  Since birth these children have been housing their teeth and dealing with the pain of becoming used to them being in their mouth and using them to eat and anunciante words.  The loss of a child’s first set of teeth is a sign of growing up, a mark of maturity and stepping stone to adulthood, as well as a remnant of a simpler past and innocent childhood.  However, losing your ‘baby teeth’ is meant to happen at a certain time in a child’s life and it is important to be aware of signs that something may be wrong.

Children’s teeth fall out naturally because of their age.  Either the roots cease to grow and as a result the teeth die off and fall out, or the teeth are actually pushed out by the mature teeth that are growing underneath.  The earliest that children usually begin to lose their first teeth is around the ages of 6 or 7.  It is very common that young children will be upset and begin to panic at the feeling of their teeth becoming loose, it is definitely a discomforting feeling.  At this time it is important to comfort your child and let them know that is is natural and okay.  Throughout the next few years children tend to have a mashup of different sized teeth in their mouth as some have fall out, some have not, and some mature teeth are even beginning to wiggle their way in.  Usually around the age of 12 or 13 a child has lost all of their baby teeth.

Assuming that no mouth trauma or accident take place, a child will lose his or her teeth in the same order that they appeared.  It usually starts with the front two on the bottom, otherwise known as the lower central incisors.  Then the teeth come in the top and center, and fan their way out from there.  After the teeth have finished growing and are essentially too big for a child’s mouth they will become loose and ready to fall out.  When it’s time for these teeth to depart, they will either come naturally while eating or with a slight bit of help from a child’s finger.  Sometimes when  a child is continuously complaining about a loose tooth it is time for a parent to step in to seal the fate of that tooth.  Here are some things to remember when helping pull your child’s tooth:

  • Pinch and twist, that’s all it should take
  • Don’t force the tooth, if it’s struggling to come out then it’s not time
  • Bleeding is common, excessive is not
  • Comfort them; its a scary thing to go through

Pulling teeth for your child is a great milestone in their lives, but it is important to know that the teeth are falling out for the right reasons.  To assure this it is important to be borderline militant about your child’s brushing and flossing habits.  Healthy teeth fall out in a healthy manner, while rotting teeth will cause a lot of pain and problems before needing to be removed by a dentist.  If your child’s teeth begin falling out far before age 6 then it is important to have them checked out by a dentist to assure that it’s just a speedline natural process and not a rare case of hyper-pediatric cavities.  At the same time, you should also raise some concern and have the dentist take a few X-rays should no baby teeth make their way out by age 8 or 9.  This could mean that there is an issue with either tooth-and-root detachment or a growth and maturation issue.

Children’s mouths are always the darndest things; not just for what they say but for what they endure.  Countless snacks from the table and smacks from falling down or running into things can all take a toll on their teeth.   It is important to keep an eye on your children’s oral hygiene habits as well as the progression and process of their first tooth development and loss.  Make sure to be by their side in this monumentally exciting and scary moment that is losing their baby teeth.

Zane Schwarzlose writes for Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry, a dental office in Lakeway, Texas. Zane remembers losing some of his baby teeth.