When do baby teeth fall out?

  • Posted on: Jan 18 2017

A baby’s first teeth are a major developmental milestone. From the moment babies start teething, their whole world changes. Soon after, they are able to bite, chew, and consume “big kid foods.” Those new teeth will also be of assistance as they start talking. As a parent, you’ll help them get through the aches and pains of pushing teeth through their gums and snap photos of their toothy grins as they appear.

Then, before you know it, those little baby teeth with fall out and it will be time for the tooth fairy to make a trip to New York. It all happens so fast (and the memories of losing your own teeth are probably a little blurry now), so how can you know what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your child’s tooth loss? While every kid is different, most lose teeth at a certain age and in a certain order. Here’s a general overview of the process, but feel free to call our office if you have any specific questions or concerns.

Usually, children start losing their baby teeth around the age of six as permanent teeth start to grow in and push the temporary ones out of the way. The first teeth to go are typically the four central incisors, located on the top middle and lower middle sections of the mouth. (Recall the song lyrics, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”?) Of course, these are also the most noticeable teeth in your little one’s mouth, so the loss the them is bound to gain some attention from siblings, classmates, and doting older relatives. If the process makes them nervous, remind them that new, stronger teeth will soon arrive in their place. Until then, be mindful that some foods — like apples and corn on the cob — might be tricky for them to eat.

Next, kids will start to lose teeth toward the back, including lateral incisors, molars, and canines. These back teeth are mostly used for chewing and grinding tough foods, so it’s possible that a tooth will be loosened (and possibly even lost) while these are being enjoyed. These losses can happen over a series of years — usually between ages nine and twelve. By age 13, most children have a full set of permanent teeth.

There are, of course, some exceptions to this schedule. A baby tooth might fall out prematurely due to cavities, injuries, or other dental issues. In these instances, the permanent adult tooth might not be ready to move down and could cause a delay in growth. This is not dangerous, but you should bring it up to us if it doesn’t grow in by six or so months. After that, other teeth might move in and alter the shape of your child’s smile. It’s also important to stress to your child that these are now his or her permanent teeth, and that taking good care of them through brushing, flossing, and regular checkups will help keep them healthy for the long haul.

Posted in: Dental Care Tips