Does your child have a wobbly tooth already? It’s a sign he's growing up. Some kids get excited at the prospect of a wobbly tooth, but some are scared how it would hurt. Cast your child's worries (and yours!) aside with these useful info on losing baby teeth:
1. It starts at around age 6. A complete set of primary teeth, also called baby teeth, consists of 20 teeth, that’s 10 at the top and 10 at the bottom. The complete set will stay with your child from around 3 years old until he’s around 5 or 6 years old. That's when they begin to fall off and are replaced with permanent teeth that are bigger and a little darker in color. 2. First in, first out. Usually, baby tooth follows a first in, first out rule. The first teeth to erupt are the two bottom ones in the middle, called the central incisors. These will be the first to fall out as well. “Three or four of their teeth fall out each year, until all 20 baby teeth are gone by age 12,” saysWilliam C. Berlocher, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Most children will have 28 permanent teeth by the time they’re 13 years old. A complete set of permanent teeth has 32 teeth and your child’s last four teeth will not appear until he’s nearing his 20s.
After a tooth has fallen out, it often takes a few weeks before your child will start to see the ridges of her new tooth and a few month before it’s fully grown. However, Shehzad Sheikh, D.M.D., says that sometimes permanent teeth start growing behind baby teeth. Talk to your child’s dentist for advice on whether it needs to be pulled out or not.
3. Don’t pull them out. Experts recommend we encourage our child to do the pulling instead, but, like you, we are skeptical. First of all, can a child even do it? Pediatric dentist Paul Casamassimo reasons, “Only your child knows for sure how attached the tooth is and how much discomfort she can stand.” And, he adds, you may injure your child if you poke around in her mouth. “Instead, have your child wiggle her tooth with her finger or push it around with her tongue.”
There’s also the possibility that your child will swallow a tooth that has unexpectedly fallen out. Don't worry. The tooth won’t cause any harm and will pass through the body. There won’t be a visit from the tooth fairy though.
4. There will be blood. But just a little bit. Have your child rinse her mouth with water in case of bleeding. If it continues to bleed, pack the gap with a piece of wet gauze and apply pressure for a few minutes.
5. There will be “extra” permanent teeth. Your child’s first permanent molars will start to erupt around 6 years old. They are “extra” permanent teeth because they don’t replace existing baby teeth. By the time your child is between 17 to 21 years old, her last permanent teeth that are also “extras” will appear. These four teeth are called “third molars” or “wisdom teeth” and are found farthest back. These make the complete set of 32 permanent teeth.
Though short-lived, it’s still important to keep baby teeth healthy and cavity-free. Make brushing a daily habit for your child with the help of these tips.