When Should Baby Teeth Start Falling Out?
Baby teeth typically begin to fall out at about age 6. The first lost tooth is usually a celebrated occasion for the child and parents alike. It can happen earlier in some cases or as much as a year later. If the teeth have not begun to loosen and fall out by age 7, the pediatric dentist may have to take action to help the permanent teeth emerge correctly.
About Primary Teeth
Like most mammals, humans have two sets of teeth during their lifetimes: the primary (baby) and permanent teeth. The purpose of primary teeth is to help a child chew and speak properly. They also have another major purpose: to save space for permanent teeth to come in later.
Babies' primary teeth begin to erupt at approximately six to twelve months. These teeth's appearance coincides with the age when parents start introducing solid foods. The primary teeth come in gradually and can cause the child discomfort during teething.
The Process of Losing Primary Teeth
Primary teeth begin to loosen naturally as the permanent teeth cause pressure. The root structure weakens, and the baby tooth begins to break down from within in a natural process called resorption. By the time the child's first tooth falls out, the permanent teeth underneath are preparing to emerge.
A child's primary teeth may fall out prematurely, especially if they experience dental trauma. Dentists cannot replace a lost primary tooth in the gum because it may damage the permanent tooth underneath.
The dentist will want to monitor your child if their primary teeth fall out too soon. The dentist may need to install a space maintainer to replace the lost primary tooth and preserve the space where the new permanent tooth will eventually emerge.
Interventions That Could Be Necessary
If a child's primary teeth do not begin to fall out as expected, they may cause orthodontic problems. Teeth may erupt in unexpected locations, and the child may experience pain and discomfort from unerupted teeth. The pediatric dentist may need to extract some primary teeth to make room for the growing permanent teeth.
Since primary teeth have only a shallow root system, the extraction process is usually straightforward. The dentist can help your child understand the reason for the extraction and potentially use sedation dentistry to help them tolerate the appointment.
Monitoring Your Child's Teeth
Babies and children should have dental exams and cleanings starting around the time the first primary teeth emerge (at the age of six to twelve months), so your pediatric dentist will already have a close eye on how your child's teeth are developing. If you notice any problems, call your child's pediatric dentist for a prompt appointment.
Contact Kids & Teens Dental Place
If you have any questions about your child's teeth, we can help you. Don't hesitate to contact us at our Pearland or Houston offices today by calling or requesting an appointment online.